UNIVERSITY NEWS | “I am a fighter for education,” retired world champion boxer Sugar Ray Leonard told the crowd at the 15th annual African American Alumni Association Scholarship Gala. More than 200 guests filled a ballroom on Sept. 21 at the Proud Bird restaurant in Los Angeles to celebrate the association’s awards and scholarship recipients.
Joining the alumni and students were LMU administrators, including President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.
“All of our current students were able to connect with our alumni in AAAA,” said Tom Arteaga, director of alumni relations at Loyola Marymount University. “They were able to build their alumni network.”
In AAAA’s 15-year history, the organization has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships and impacted more than 265 students. Thanks in part to the university’s 2:1 match, AAAA has been able to award 85 scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year, totaling $312,000.
Leonard received the William L. Strickland ’71 Excellence Award for his example of excellence inside and outside the ring. A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Leonard won a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic games before launching a 20-year career as a professional boxer and clinching world titles in five weight divisions. He has worked extensively as a television broadcaster and sports analyst, and with his wife, Bernadette, founded The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation to support care and research for pediatric diabetes.
Tara Duncan ’03, a director of original series for Netflix, received the AAAA Rising Leader Award. The Hollywood Reporter magazine has featured her as a top industry executive.
Forescee Hogan-Rowles ’81, president and CEO of RISE Financial Pathways, received the Hon. Irma Brown Dillon ’70, J.D. ’73 Community Service Award to recognize her work and organization, which provides commercial lending opportunities – including micro loans, peer lending, and small business loans – along with business training, asset development programs, and banking programs.
Bobby Adams ’71, retired president of Merritt College, received the AAAA Legacy Award. He was a counselor and administrator for 33 years at Santa Monica College before taking the presidency at Merritt College in Oakland, and has championed his “student-first” philosophy throughout his career.
The evening’s award recipients were introduced by spoken-word performances by Shonda Buchanan ’97, M.A. ’03, and Tyler Shepherd ’17, to the accompaniment of the Donald Hayes All-Star Band. Eleven-year-old singer Aryana Pizarro and artist Norton Wisdom also performed.