Photographer: Ryan Versey

The Black Alumni Society and the Black Alumni Society Scholars presented the 9th Annual Shades of Ebony event on Thursday, November 12 at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House. The theme for the event was “An Unknown Royalty”. SOE was created by Dr. Demetrius Richmond, MA ’04 and Quantrell Willis BA ’05, MED 07, undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Richmond and Willis wanted to create an event that was non Greek affiliated where students could come together, connect, engage, “dress up” and celebrate their African American heritage. Dr. Richmond and Willis presented the idea to Angela Mosley Monts, who at that time was the assistant director for the Arkansas Alumni Association. Over time SOE has evolved and is now a signature program for the Black Alumni Society Scholars along with BAS.

The Scholars plan and present SOE to the University of Arkansas students, alumni, faculty and staff. Breana Allen, Black Alumni Society Scholars’ president gave the welcome. Toreia Harris and Chassidy Hurst, BAS Scholars served as the 2015 SOE chairs and mistresses of ceremonies. Micah Minter, BAS Scholar song the Negro National Anthem.

Alumni Reflections were given by John L Colbert, BAS Immediate Past President, Melanie Watson and Imani Smith, SOE 2014 Chairs. Musical selections were provided by Jason “Wavy J” Howard, U of A student and Kimberly Williams, alumna, U of A 2009 Homecoming Queen and Miss U of A 2010.

The keynote speaker, Elton Ford, alumnus and former BAS Graduate scholar was introduced by Sharnell Coleman, Black Students Association, president. Ford encouraged the students and told them to never give up on their dreams. He gave them examples of life changing obstacles that could have been disastrous but he used them as stepping stones to continue to strive for his dream.

This event always has a best dress contest and students have an opportunity to win prizes throughout the night. Over 100 students attended SOE. “My Future Generation” provided musical selections throughout the ending.  Closing remarks were given by LaTonya Foster, BAS president and Angela Mosley Monts.

Foster expressed her appreciation for such a well-planned event by all the scholars and the participation from the U of A students for attending the event. She also recognized the BAS board of directors, Colbert and Carolyn Brewer for attending the event. Foster applauded the Scholars for putting on such an amazing event and gave special thanks to Accee Milton, BAS Scholar for working with the 2015 SOE Chairs. Special thanks to Ryan Versey for capturing the event through photography.

A special thanks to our alumni and friends for membership in the Arkansas Alumni Association which automatically makes you a member of the Black Alumni Society. Your membership allows BAS to host student events such as SOE to connect, serve, engage and educate our students and NWA about the benefits and services of BAS.