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WSSU Foundation to host inaugural Simon G. Atkins gala April 20

Several education, business and philanthropic leaders to receive awards

The Winston-Salem State University Foundation will honor several recipients for education, community business and philanthropy at its inaugural Simon Green Atkins Foundation Gala to be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

The WSSU Foundation created the gala to celebrate distinguished faculty, staff, alumni and community partners in the categories of Champion of Education, Community Business Partner, the Simon Green Atkins Philanthropy Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The following is a list of the inaugural award recipients who were selected by WSSU Foundation members, the WSSU Office of University Advancement and the Office of Undergraduate Research:

Champion of Education

The Champion of Education Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of education over an extended period of time. The award seeks to honor, encourage and reward an individual that has exhibited excellence, innovation and effectiveness in teaching, and a commitment to student success.

  • Cantley Alexander
  • D’Walla Simmons-Burke,
  • Raquel Richardson-Ingram,
  • Daniel Rose,
  • Patsy Squire
  • Dawn Tafari
  • Cassandra Wineglass

Community Business Partner

The Community Business Partner Award is given to a community business partner in the Forsyth County area who has demonstrated excellence in partnering with the WSSU Foundation by making significant contributions to the university; provides opportunities for students to engage and learn; and contributes to the overall good of the community. The award honors and recognizes their commitment and vital role in successful collaboration that brings the campus closer to the community.

  • Truist Bank
  • Carol Davis

SGA Philanthropy Award

The SGA Philanthropy Award recognizes distinguished philanthropic contributions to the Winston-Salem State University Foundation and the power of philanthropy to change lives. The award is presented to an individual, group, corporation or nonprofit organization that demonstrates a commitment to philanthropy and serves as a role model to encourage philanthropy for WSSU.

  • The 1892 Crew, which includes Gary Bowen, Gerry Fountain, Robert Mackey, Rodney Milbourne, Detron Powell, Winston Robinson, Tremaine Smith, LaKeith Stevenson, Nathan White, Dominique Vaughn, Cory Williams and Dameon Workman.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes recipients for outstanding achievements in their professional lives, personal integrity and stature and service to the university. This award is presented to an alumnus who has demonstrated long-term success in his or her career and who exemplifies the attributes of a WSSU graduate, such as leadership, citizenship, community service and/or service to his or her business or industry. 

  • Melissa Perry, a Presidential Endowed Professor.

The gala is chaired by Marcus Cox with Veronica Cox and Dr. Tangela Towns serving as gala co-chairs.  “We are extremely grateful to Chairman Cox, Mrs. Veronica Cox, Dr. Tangela Towns and members of planning committee for their tenacity and dedication in planning this inaugural event,” said Dr. LaTanya Afolayan, vice chancellor for University Advancement at WSSU. “This S.G. Atkins Gala allows us to celebrate the vision of WSSU’s founder, Dr. S.G. Atkins, and publicly acknowledging the myriad of contributions from our faculty, staff, alumni and community partners. We applaud the members of our foundation board for being actively engaged in helping us to secure additional resources to address the most pressing needs of our students.”

“As we prepare to host the inaugural Simon Green Atkins WSSU Foundation Gala, I am filled with profound excitement and gratitude,” said Marcus Cox. “This event, named in honor of the visionary founder of Winston-Salem State University, Simon G. Atkins, embodies his audacious spirit and enduring legacy. Just as Mr. Atkins envisioned a future where education uplifts communities and transforms lives, this gala serves as a beacon of excellence, celebrating distinguished individuals who embody his ethos of ‘head, hand and heart’ education and service to Winston-Salem State University.

“I honored to be part of this historic occasion, where we come together to honor our past, celebrate our present achievements, and shape the future of scholarship and opportunity for generations to come,” he said.

Tickets to the gala are available for purchase at Attire is formal. The proceeds will be evenly divided to benefit the Office of Undergraduate Research and to support GAP scholarship funding through the WSSU Foundation.


About the WSSU Foundation

In 1970, the Winston-Salem State University Foundation, Inc. was established as a private, non-profit organization that focuses on the long-term needs of the university and enhances the efficiency of its fundraising efforts. The two entities operate independently. The Foundation aims to foster and promote the university’s growth, progress and general well-being. The Winston-Salem State University Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises local community members, alumni and university administrators. The board oversees how the foundation raises money, invests donations and distributes grants, of which WSSU is the sole beneficiary. It also advises and supports other activities of the foundation designed to further the interests of WSSU.

About Winston-Salem State University: Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region, and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.


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