Bigger and brighter with each passing year, the 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, can easily be described as the annual to end all annuals. The dinner was held on Monday November 1st at the New York Sheraton, which honored our country’s most distinguished corporate and educational leaders. The event began with a VIP red carpet and cocktail hour.
Early to arrive was Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s new President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr. ESQ. who spoke of his vision for the organization. “I’ve been with the organization since May 3rd so this is also my 6th month anniversary, and the number one thing that we’re focusing on is becoming a talent machine. We want to be the place that Corporate America, Governmental Agencies and the like come to to find their talent. We have 80% of the students attending HBCU’s at Thurgood Marshall College Fund institutions, so when Corporate America says it wants diversity, we want to give them diversity.”
Also early to arrive were the evening’s honorees: Senior VP/Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s USA LLC Neil Golden, President of the ING Foundation Rhonda Mims, Senior VP of Sales a LALA USA Kenneth Wilcox, and President of Prairie View A&M University Dr. George C. Wright.
Stars of stage, screen, television, and music joined industry leaders in support of the evening as well. The event’s hosts actors Niecy Nash and Anthony Anderson were only the tip of the iceberg. Also present were celebrities like judge Jeanine Pirro, Omarosa Manigault, Kamie Crawford, Anika Noni Ro se, Laura Izbor and Bebe Winans to name a few.
Immediately following the red carpet, attendees from the great cities of Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, New York City and beyond convened over a sumptuous dinner in support of our country’s brightest young minds. Amongst the distinguished seated guests were: Designer B Michael, Author Tonya Lewis Lee, Jocelyn Taylor, and many others.
Highlights of the awards dinner included introductions of various celebrated college students for their commitment to excellence, the honoring of Thurgood Marshall Member Schools and Presidents–ranging from Norfolk State University to Tuskegee Institute, and of course a spectacular performance by the legendary Patti Labelle who snag a poignant rendition of ” Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to the hundreds of seated guests present.
The 23rd Anniversary TCMF Awards Dinner is a continuing tradition that began more than twenty years ago in the name of civil rights activist and Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. As the TMCF’s signature fundraising event , the annual awards dinner has, over the years, significantly advanced the organization’s mission while championing academic excellence and supporting students at public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is celebrating 23 years of igniting the dreams of students attending 47 member public Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) and historically black law schools.
*photos courtesy of Alex Lipwec