The National Alumni Association (NAA) for Elizabeth City State University recognized
seven alumni for outstanding contributions in categories that span from business to
government relations. For the 32nd time, alumni garnered awards that reflect the vast
skills they contribute to communities in North Carolina, Virginia. The winners and
Ms. Sheryl Ganus, a 1988 graduate received the Alumni Affairs award. Her professional
area of expertise is information technology. She's provided IT support for IBM, Nortel,
UNC Chapel Hill Memorial Hospital, and EDS. While she resided in Raleigh, NC, she
volunteered with the NC Department of Social Service, in the Big Brother /Big Sister
Program and at the Women's Shelter. Later in the Washington, DC area, she worked on
contracts for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the United States Army,
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Currently, Ganus works at the Pentagon supporting
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bolling AFB, and Andrews AFB in an IT capacity.
A staunch Viking supporter, Ganus worked with the Maryland Department Motor Vehicles
to secure the Elizabeth City State University license plate for the university's fans
and supporters. In addition, she has established the Sheryl Denise Ganus Endowed
Scholarship Fund for ECSU students majoring in Computer Science.
Mr. Allen J. Mason, a 1995 graduate, received the Business/Profession award.
As a student, Mason received the Marketing Achievement Award for the highest GPA in
his concentration. He also received the National Business Merit Award. Following graduation,
Mason worked for E Capital Mortgage Insurance (Orlando FL) where he serviced over
100 accounts in central Florida. After a promotion, he moved to the home office
in Raleigh, NC. Later he serviced over 250 accounts in five states of the south central
U.S. In 1998, Mason became an entrepreneur. He has owned a fund-raising company as
well as an entertainment company. He has been a partner of an entertainment company,
Dynasty5 since 1997 which services young black professionals throughout North Carolina.
Clients included John Legend, Doug E Fresh, Chuck Brown and others. The company is
best known for their monthly networking and social event call First Friday.
In 2007, Allen started Water Street Entertainment where he, business partners, family,
and friends created a national event--Vegas Soulfest. Vegas Soulfest, held during
Memorial Weekend in Las Vegas, NV, is a fun-filled get-away weekend of concerts, shows,
and events catering to African Americans. Mason resides in Durham, NC and is an
active member of the Raleigh-Durham-Wake Alumni Chapter of the ECSU National Alumni
Mr. Timothy Bellamy, a 1981 graduate, received the Community Service award.
Bellamy holds a master's degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina
at Greensboro. He also graduated from the Southern Police Institute's Administrative
Officer's course at the University of Louisville and the FBI National Academy in Quantico,
VA. Bellamy did further study with Leadership North Carolina and Other Voices - Greensboro
Chamber of Commerce. After serving Greensboro Police for 24 years, he became Chief
of Police (2007).
Bellamy developed the "Walk Against Crime" Program, Midnight Basketball for the Youth,
and the Guilford Pals Organization. Bellamy is a member of the following committees:
Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army Board of Directors, Greensboro Conference on Communities
and Justice Board of Directors, Greensboro Rotary, the East Market Street Development
Board of Directors, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. His professional
organizations include: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives,
North State Law Enforcement Officers Association, NC Police Executive Officers Association,
and International Association of Chief of Police.
Mr. John Richardson III, a 1995 graduate, received the Education award.
Richardson holds a master's degree from Old Dominion University (2003) in sports management.
Richardson's experience includes a physical education instructor in Newport News and
Alexandria, Va.; As head coach of Woodside High School in Newport News, Va., he led
the team to Virginia AAA State Championships in 2004 and 2005. He also led the team
to three Eastern Regional Championships and two Peninsula District (2004 and 2005)
titles. Woodside won Peninsula District Tournament Championships in 2002 and 2005
when Richardson was an assistant coach. Richardson received the Associated Press
AAA Coach of the Year in 2004.
Since 1996 he has served as an assistant coach for the Virginia Amateur Athletic Union
(AAU) 17, an all-star traveling team. He has held counseling positions at various
basketball camps. For the last three years, Richardson has served as the first Director
of Basketball Operations at Old Dominion University. Currently, he is an assistant
basketball coach with Old Dominion University.
Mr. Zack Hawkins, a 2001 graduate, received the Government Relations Award
As an ECSU student, Hawkins was a member of the Executive Branch of the Student Government
Association all four years. He also served as Voter Registration Coordinator at ECSU
for the 2000 Presidential Election.
Following his graduation, Hawkins actively participated in several political campaigns:
In 2002, he served as a campaign intern for Congressman David Price and Erskine Bowles'
senatorial campaign; Two terms as President of the Young Democrats of Durham County;
a 2004 Delegate for the Democratic National Convention; Chair of the Minority Caucus
(2005). Over the next three years, Hawkins served in various leadership roles across
the state: Campaign Field Director and Strategy Consultant for the Honorable William
"Bill" Bell Mayor of Durham; State Representative Larry Hall, and Congressman David
Price. In 2008, he served as Campaign Manager for Durham's District Attorney Tracey
Cline the first African American and female to hold this position. While politics
plays a major role in his life, Zack is also a devoted science teacher at Southern
High School in Durham, North Carolina.
Tonya Mizelle, a 1995 graduate, received the Viking Spirit Award. The award is given
to an alumnus/alumna, ECSU administrator, faculty member, staff member, who is an
untiring and dedicated supporter of the university. The announcement of this award
is "secured" until the evening of the Awards Banquet at which time the honoree is
Amir Rasheed & Leona Cogbill received the Viking Image Award. The Viking Image Award
must be a non-alum (faculty member, staff member, community member, legislator, board
member, etc.) who is an untiring and dedicated supporter of the university in spirit,
deeds, and goods. The announcement of this award is "secured" until the evening of
the Awards Banquet at which time the honoree is publicly recognized.
Dr. Charles Cherry, president of the NAA, said these young honorees, like many before
them, contribute to their communities in more than one category. In addition to community
contributions, he is excited about the number of alumni making monetary donations.
Currently, 96 individuals have donated a minimum of $1,000 to ECSU and there are 57
new lifetime members.
"Increasing overall membership and donations to the university continues to be one
of the main focus points of the ECSU National Alumni Association. We are most proud
that that our Lifetime Membership is continuing to increase. We encourage all alumni
to join local chapters and the national association. We should all give to the university
that has given so much to us," Cherry said.
Chancellor and Mrs. Gilchrist join NAA President, Dr. Charles Cherry, and the 2008
award winners at the organization's 32nd annual awards banquet. standing left to right:
Amir Rasheed, Zack Forde-Hawkins, Sheryl Ganus, Leona Cogbill, Jacqueline Gilchrist,
Chancellor Willie Gilchrist, Tonya Mizelle, Timothy Bellamy, John Richardson III,
Allen Mason, Dr. Charles Cherry.