Press Release April 2019

April 3, 2019

Crystal Pruitt, Communications Chairman

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Honors Local Leaders for Service

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated ® will honor five transformative community leaders during its 66th South Atlantic Regional Conference public meeting at 8 p.m. on April 11 at the Greenville Convention Center in South Carolina.

The sorority’s esteemed Target Awards are presented to local leaders, individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Greenville community. The esteemed recognition also highlights the long-standing commitment and dedication to service that enhances the social, economic, and educational well-being of local, national and international communities.

“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated continues to honor its tradition of awarding excellence by highlighting extraordinary individuals for their significant contributions to our communities through their time, actions, talents and dedication,” said Carolyn G. Randolph, director of the South Atlantic Region, which encompasses the states of South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. “Each honoree selected serves as a role model for our hallmark of service to all, while striving to make the world a better place through their outstanding actions.”

Randolph added that this year’s conference theme is “Excellence Personified: From the Mountains to the Foothills” and over 5,000 members from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will attend the South Atlantic Regional Conference April 10–14, 2019, delivering an economic impact of more than $2.6 million dollars to the local community.

The honorees for the Target Awards are Derek McGowan, Program Manager for Higher Education Institutions Global Diversity and Inclusion for Lockheed Martin representing Alpha Kappa Alpha’s HBCU for Life: A Call to action program target. A 2018 Lockheed Martin “NOVA” awardee, McGowan manages the multimillion-dollar portfolio for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for Lockheed Martin. He drives the implementation of diversity and inclusion efforts in STEM programs, relationship building, student development and recruiting for the multibillion-dollar company.

For Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Women's Healthcare and Wellness program target, Dr. Lynette Gibson is recognized for her achievements as professor of nursing and director of research in nursing in the Mary Black School of Nursing at the University of South Carolina Upstate. A recipient of the inaugural USC Upstate Faculty Award for promotion and integration of information literacy, Dr. Gibson has published in the areas of breast health in African-American women, breast cancer survivorship and health equity.

In recognition of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Building your Economic Legacy program target, James Bennett, founder of Upstate Home Care Solutions, which are South Carolina facilities that assist families who need caring individuals with a loved one’s home care needs. Employing more than 100 caregivers, Bennett is an active community leader who has received a number of entrepreneurial and business awards. He serves on several boards including the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Ten at the Top, and Fire Pit Ranch and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Focusing on the fourth program target of The Arts, Alpha Kappa Alpha will salute Raymond L. Floyd, whose artistic work was commissioned by Mattel Toys. An artist and art teacher, Mr. Floyd became the first African-American art teacher in Spartanburg city and county schools. Nationally, Floyd’s varied accomplishments include being featured in national art shows and national education art magazines, award-winning drawings and establishing a laser-magic screen-printing business.

Representing Alpha Kappa Alpha’s fifth program target, Global Impact, Dr. Samuel B. Neely’s transformative volunteerism will recognize his international impact. Dr. Neely touched the lives of many through the implementation of the South Carolina Department of Social Services After-School Snack Program. As an international minister, Dr. Neely has led groups on pilgrimages to Israel and Egypt, and organizes mission trips to Haiti. Through the Haiti Mission Fund, Dr. Neely works with the children of Cabaret Children’s Home and the Good Shepherd.

The event is free and open to the public.

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About Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is the oldest Greek-letter organization established in America by black women and was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University. Led by International President Dr. Glenda Glover, the organization consists of thousands of college-trained women who give of themselves to support community service projects and scholarship programs.

Hostess chapters for the South Atlantic Regional Conference, consist of ten graduate chapters and five undergraduate chapters from Spartanburg, SC; Greenville, SC; Gaffney, SC; Greer, SC; Greenwood, SC; Anderson, SC; Clinton, SC; Newberry, SC; Rock Hill, SC and Fort Mill, SC. The South Atlantic Region is noted as the largest of ten regions in the sorority. Under the leadership of Regional Director, Carolyn G. Randolph, of Columbus, Georgia, the region has more than 17,000 members and is comprised of 175 graduate and undergraduate chapters. The sorority has a total membership of more than 300,000 women, and more than 1,000 chapters in the United States and internationally in the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea and Africa.