By Andrew Skerritt
Distinguished Alumni: Standing from left Andre Harper, Charles Johnson, Michael Moore, NAA President Col. Gregory Clark, FAMU President Larry Robinson, Martez Prince, Don Roberts, Scotty Barnhart.(Seated from left)Joy May-Harris, Kimberly Evans, Rhonda Rolle, Lakitsia Gaines, FAMU NAA DAA Chair Doris Hicks, Vivian Bradley Johnson.
Florida A&M University National Alumni Association’s (FAMU NAA) Annual Convention wrapped up last with more than $300,000 in donations and honoring 11 Distinguished Alumni.
The NAA raised $317,000 at the “Unity Breakfast” on Saturday. Money raised will go to the Save Our Students Scholarship fund, which is designed to aid financially strapped upperclassmen to graduate, the Athletics Department and the FAMU College of Law.
“I’m thankful that the Rattler Nation stepped up and came to check on Mother FAMU. Their generosity will help many students realize their dream of matriculating from Florida A&M University,” said outgoing FAMU NAA President Gregory Clark, who expressed satisfaction over the success of the Tallahassee gathering. “We had a great convention. I had a great time, and it was good to be back on campus.”
The five-day event was historical. It marked the first in person FAMU NAA Convention on the main Tallahassee campus, but it was also the first time the FAMU Board of Trustees, the FAMU Foundation and the NAA convened at the same location at the same time. Among the highlights was recognition of 11 Distinguished Alumni for 2022.
Scotty Barnhart is an internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, author, producer, two-time Grammy winner, and director of the Count Basie orchestra. The FAMU music education graduate appears on more than 20 recordings and has performed with Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and others. He was recognized for his excellence in arts/entertainment.
Vivian Bradley Johnson is the senior vice president of clinical services at Parkland health in Dallas, Texas, where she oversees Pharmacy, Radiology, Respiratory, Clinical Nutrition, Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Laboratory Services. She has spent more than 36 years providing health care services to the underserved in Dallas County. Johnson is a member of the Parkland COVID-19 Response Team. She graduated from the FAMU College of Pharmacy in 1982 and served as Miss FAMU from 1981 to 1982. She obtained her doctorate of pharmacy degree from Mercer University in Atlanta and an MBA from the University of Dallas.
Kimberly D. Evans graduated cum laude from FAMU in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in music. She was a member of the Marching “100” Band. Evans, who was recognized for her contributions to education, has taught for 24 years and currently serves as elementary music educator and district elementary music liaison for St. Lucie Public Schools. She also serves as the national president of the Marching “100” Alumni Band Association Inc.
Lakitsia Gaines, a Miami native and a fourth-generation graduate of FAMU, was recognized for her success in business. After 10 years of leadership promotions and relocations with State Farm Insurance, Gaines wanted more than success as an employee of a Fortune 500 company. She wanted to be her own boss and to achieve financial freedom. In 2006, Gaines became an independent agency owner. She has a team of 15 multilingual and licensed insurance and financial services professionals dedicated to protecting their clients’ wealth. She has two State Farm agencies; one is in Miami and the other is in Hallandale Beach.
Andre Harper, who at a young age learned that fortune favors the bold, was recognized for community service. For two summers during high school, he participated in the life changing Black Male College Explorers Program at FAMU.
The West Palm Beach Florida native enlisted in U.S. Army and after serving three years on active duty, he returned to FAMU as a student. He graduated with honors with a bachelor’s in public management in 2003.
With his wife, FAMU Trustee Kristin Harper, he co-founded Pacesetters Unlimited Inc., a nonprofit organization to build a pipeline of African American scholars. The initiative raised more than $100,000 for HBCU scholarship and youth programs, including the Gentleman and Scholars Program to teach professional etiquette to young Black boys since 2010.
He has personally taken members to more than 20 college and university campuses, including three trips to FAMU. In 2015, they established a $25,000 endowed scholarship for Ohio students attending FAMU. Harper is an implementation engineer at Code 42, where he helps to manage insider risk for corporations, universities, and organizations around the world.
Charles E. Johnson, a native of Fort Pierce, Fla., earned a bachelor’s in education in 1976 at FAMU. He was an educator for 33 years and a baseball coach of 26 years, during which he developed many players. He has recommended 35 student athletes for scholarships. Twelve high school players, included his son Charles Jr., were drafted by Major League Baseball. Johnson was recognized for his contributions to athletics.
Joy May Harris is executive director and principal of Alliance Virgil Roberts Leadership Academy, a public charter middle school in the Hyde Park/Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. She is an established instructional leader with a proven track record of improving academic outcomes in inner City Schools. During a career that spans almost three decades, Harris established a reputation for transforming school culture and building relationships with students in South Central LA. She was named principal of the year in 2016. She also previously served as founding principal at Alliance Jack H. Skirball Middle School in Watts. Harris holds a bachelor’s in African American studies from FAMU and a master’s in educational administration from California State University Northridge. She served as president of the South Carolina California chapter of FAMUNA for seven years.
Michael Moore, JD, D.Th., is a 1976 graduate of FAMU, where he studied political science and public administration. Following graduation from FAMU, he served on the congressional staff of U.S. Rep. Don Fuqua, becoming the first African American professional staffer within the Florida congregational delegation. He later served as city manager of Gretna, Florida, until 1991, when he started a career in state government, first with the Florida Department of Labor and later, the Florida Department of Education.
A lifelong learner, Moore returned to school in 1983 to earn a juris doctorate with thesis degree from John Marshall Law School in 1985. In 2003, he earned a professional designation of certified public manager from Florida State University and learned later earned both the masters and doctorate of degree the actual degree in systematic theology from ZE Brown Bible College and Seminary in 2003 and 2006 respectively in 1998. He answered the call to serve in ministry and in 2000 was ordained as an elder and appointed to serve as pastor of Powerhouse Family Worship Center, where he is senior pastor/district superintendent and administrative assistant to Bishop Edward Robinson of the Central Florida Second Ecclesiastic Jurisdiction. Moore was recognized for his community service.
Martez Prince, Pharm.D., a 2010 graduate of FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health, was recognized for his role in health/medicine. Upon receiving his doctorate in pharmacy, the Fort Pierce, Florida, native relocated to Charlotte, N.C., where he has become established as a pharmacist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is CEO of Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center.
Prince is also known for his philanthropic efforts and community involvement with the Premier Foundation of North Carolina, founded in 2015 to provide resources to level the playing field for underserved communities. In recognition of his service, Prince was afforded the opportunity to partner with Oprah Winfrey during one of his wellness fairs to bring awareness to the community in which he serves.
Don P. Roberts served as executive band consultant for the 20th Century Fox hit “Drumline.” Roberts was responsible for training the actors, writing the precision drills, rehearsing the band, etc. More recently, Roberts was appointed as a consultant for Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella performance in California. The marching band performance behind Beyoncé at Coachella were selected by Roberts from his company DRUMLine Live Entertainment Group. They were also featured in her 2019 Netflix movie “Homecoming.”
Roberts had also served as band conductor and consultant for Tyler Perry’s “Madea.” He served as the band consultant for the 2020 marvel studio movie “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and has worked with fellow FAMU alumni Will Packer and Rob Hardy.
Roberts serves as the music coordinator for the DeKalb County School District, where he supervises and supports more than 20 teachers and 10,000 music students. Prior to that, he served as band director at McNair Middle School and the Southwest DeKalb High School.
Rhonda Rolle, a national evangelist, was recognized for her outstanding contributions in religion. A third generation Rattler who was born on the FAMU campus, Evangelist Rolle earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in clothing and retailing and business administration from the School of Business and Industry.
She’s a member of the True Holiness Church of God in Christ, where she served as a chair of the Mother Board and the Department of Evangelism. Internationally, Rolle serves as the jurisdictional prayer captain for the Western Florida Second Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ Inc. In 2009, she became a national evangelist with credentials from the world headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rolle began her career in state government at the Florida border regions as the first African American employed in human resources and retired after 36 years of service from the Florida Department of education.