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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

8th annual Black Alumni Summit awards three Wofford students scholarships

By Aiden Lockhart

In the lead-up to homecoming weekend, the 8th Annual Black Alumni Summit was held in the Tony White Theater on Oct. 28. Dwain Pruitt, chief equity officer and a Black alum himself, put the event together.

“This event started in 2014 and at that initial meeting there were over a hundred alumni in attendance and over time it sort of waned off,” Pruitt said.

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This year, he made it his personal goal to boost engagement within the Wofford community.

“People were curious to know what the college was planning on doing, so we are working to step up the idea that we’re doing something innovative every year,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt explains that the scholarships awarded by the Black Alumni Summit offer an opportunity to target students, who in many instances have special needs. The winners of this year’s three scholarships are James Few ‘25, Taylor Fuller ‘24 and McKenzie Norman ‘23.

Few, a projected chemistry major and double major in either math or Spanish, was the winner of the 1854 Heritage Fund Travel Grant Award. He serves as Wofford Men of Color vice president and treasurer of both Wofford Anti-Racism Coalition (WARC) and Organization Latin American Students (OLAS).

Few will be using the funds for the Yoga & Natural Healing in Costa Rica interim course. This will allow him the opportunity to immerse himself in the Spanish culture.

Fuller, biology major, was awarded the Penny Koger Memorial Scholarship. She is vice president of the Association of Multicultural Students (AMS), secretary of Wofford Women of Color, a member of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BI- POC) Homecoming Planning Committee and the Brown Girls Read Committee.

She also started the organization Minorities in STEM.

Fuller said the scholarship is important to her as a first-generation college student from a low-income background.

“Knowing that you share a com- mon goal and a common interest with a community that looks like you is super important if you’re going to thrive and make it in your field,” Fuller said.

Norman is a government major and also a recipient of the Penny Koger Memorial Scholarship. She is in ROTC and Wofford Women of Color. She is also a Gateway Scholar.

She said the scholarship made her want to continue her community activities, like being a communications intern for the non-profit Spartanburg County Foundation and an intern for Spartanburg Parks and Recreation. Norman plans to use the money to pay for her military uniforms for graduation and when she is commissioned.

“(Being awarded this scholarship) shows that I was being seen for ex- celling in school, being a leader and taking my education to another level,” Norman said.

Kleo Young ‘25 took part in many of the behind-the-scenes efforts of encouraging attendance of the event.

“It’s a great opportunity to network with people who look like you and finally get that one up, because at Wofford it’s hard for people of color to navigate socially,” Young said.

Pruitt also values the sense of community at the summit.

“Having an organization that lends its support means a lot to students who are looking for that sense of community and belonging,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt also emphasized the professional experience of the Black alum- ni, mentioning that one alum is a retired Army Major General. Translating this to academics, Pruitt says he would like to see a curriculum that reflects diversity. This would allow students to have the opportunity to have conversations about experiences without feeling isolated.

Pruitt also mentioned that Wofford is working on increasing diversity among the faculty.

“These are all things that the college is working on, but we have a long way to go in those areas,” Pruitt said.

Young said that James Stukes, Tasha Smith-Tyus, Sandra Rouse, Edita Soto, Toria Teamer and all the faculty members of color were expected to attend, in addition to Pruitt.

In addition, Young said that all di- versity organizations were also ex- pected to be present.

Several other events were put on for homecoming week as well, such as the BIPOC mixer held Oct. 27 and the block party on Oct. 28. The daily announcements mentioned each of these and will continue to advertise events such as this as well as others.

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