Alumni Applause

Justin Hardiman

July 6th, 2017 by giving

Earlier this year, Justin Hardiman’s vibrant pictures of models at a natural hair show produced in part by Solange Knowles set the internet ablaze. Viewers had no idea who took the shots, but Hardiman doesn't seem to mind.

His focus is on displaying the many facets of black women and not a one-dimensional sexualized version that he feels is prominent in the fashion industry.





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Chauncey Citchens

July 6th, 2017 by giving

Congratulations to Chauncey Citchens on the release of her first book, "Meet McKenzie Mason"! In 2015 when her niece, McKenzie, asked for books for Christmas, Citchens was overjoyed that her niece shared the same interest in reading that she did as a child. Unfortunately, Citchens was unable to find a variety of books that featured black girls as leading characters. This was a challenge she also remembered facing as a child.

Inspired and determined to give her niece a story with a lead character she could identify with, Citchens picked up her childhood hobby of writing and wrote a story with her niece as the main character. What originally started as a story for just her niece, quickly turned into a full-on project when family and friends encouraged her to publish the book. Citchens hopes Meet McKenzie Mason will play a part in diversifying children’s books. She believes there is extreme value in children seeing characters, as well as authors, who look like them.

Meet McKenzie Mason is available on Amazon:

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Leonard N. Moore

June 7th, 2017 by giving

AUSTIN, Texas — Professor of History Leonard N. Moore has been named interim vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Moore has been the senior associate vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement since 2013 and will serve in the interim role as the university conducts a national search to fill the position, President Gregory L. Fenves announced in a letter to campus.

“As a scholar, Dr. Leonard Moore has boldly studied the intersections of race, history, race and politics in groundbreaking ways,” Fenves said. “As a teacher, he has challenged UT students to understand their world, to answer difficult questions and to seek truth in their studies and in their lives. And now, as interim vice president for diversity and community engagement, Dr. Moore will apply his expertise to strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus and throughout the city of Austin. He is the ideal person for this job during an important time of transition for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.”

A faculty member at Texas since 2007, Moore in his current role manages about 30 programs and initiatives in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). He regularly teaches hundreds of students per semester, including a class on the Black Power movement and a course titled “Race in the age of Obama.” He has received numerous teaching awards and also directs study abroad programs in Beijing and Cape Town that have become national models for diversifying global education.

“I was born to be a teacher. Whenever I walk into a classroom at UT and see so many students from different backgrounds, I am reminded what a unique, diverse, and life-changing campus this is,” Moore said. “In my new role, I hope to reach even more students and to maintain and elevate the university’s commitment to diversity,  inclusion, and community engagement at this vital moment in the history of our nation.”

Moore will begin as interim vice president on July 17 and serve through the 2017-2018 academic year.  He will replace Gregory J. Vincent, the university’s first vice president for diversity and community engagement, who is leaving to become president of his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. The university will assemble a broad-based committee to identify and review candidates and consult with Fenves in the search for a permanent vice president.

UT Austin is a nationally recognized leader in promoting diversity in higher education. It was one of 13 U.S. universities honored as a 2016 Diversity Champion by INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. Earlier this year, the university developed a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan that will serve as a blueprint for creating a more inclusive campus culture and embedding those efforts in all areas of university life.

Central to those initiatives is DDCE’s work in advancing socially just learning and working environments and fostering a culture of excellence through diverse people, ideas, and perspectives on campus. DDCE also develops community-university partnerships that foster connections between Austin and the university.

Moore is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his BA from Jackson State University in 1993 and his PhD from The Ohio State University in 1998. He was a history professor at Louisiana State University from 1998-2007, where he also directed the African and African American Studies Program and the Pre-Doctoral Scholar’s Institute.

At UT Austin, he serves as the George W. Littlefield Professor in American History and is also a Fellow of Lee and Joseph D. Jamail Chair in African American Studies.

He is the author of two books. His third book, The Defeat of Black Power: Civil Rights and the National Black Political Convention of 1972, will be published in early 2018. Moore currently serves as chair of the board of directors for the Austin Area Urban League. 

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Keydron Guinn, PhD

June 6th, 2017 by giving

Keydron K. Guinn, PhD, serves as Vice President and Chief of Staff at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Guinn reports directly to and serves as a principal deputy for management, policy and lead advisor to the President. As a member of the executive leadership team and President's cabinet, he works closely with other senior executives, Deans of the Colleges and Schools and serves as senior liaison for internal/external partners including: The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the Brooklyn Center for Health Disparities and other institutional and community leadership organizations. He is a lead representative for the Downstate campus to the SUNY System and has oversight for several institutional functions and units. He also holds an associate professorship in the School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Guinn served as Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Morgan State University where he was responsible for administrative functions and student affairs issues. He assisted in the management of 11 academic units, development of the College's budget and served on numerous committees and initiatives throughout the University. He taught in the graduate sociology program at Morgan. Before joining Morgan, he served as Interim Dean in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Solano Community College in Fairfield, California where he overcome a departmental deficit and managed five academic departments.

He has held leadership roles at Meharry Medical College (Nashville, TN), serving as Deputy Director and
later, Interim Executive Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at
Meharry. In this role, he led a staff of eight, coordinated the Center's national research agenda and
worked closely with the National Advisory Committee (consisting of academic thought leaders in health
policy from renowned institutions such as: Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University, the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University, to name a
few). He also managed an operating budget of nearly $4 million.

With the joint appointment of Assistant Dean in Meharry's School of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr.
Guinn helped to establish a certificate in health policy and led efforts to explore online academic
programs. He also held associate professorships in the Schools of Dentistry (Dental Public Health) and
Graduate Studies & Research where he taught courses in health policy and geriatric dentistry,

Prior to Meharry, Dr. Guinn served Southern University's Agricultural Research & Extension Center
(Baton Rouge, LA) as Rural Sociologist and later, Interim Director of the Southwest Center for Rural
Initiatives (Opelousas, LA) managing a state earmark of $750,000. He was responsible for community
programming that lead to educational programs for the seven-parish region related to heir property, endof-
life issues and numerous youth programs. Additionally, he taught graduate courses on the main
campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Dr. Guinn's career prior to higher education consisted of positions in non-profit and local governmental
organizations. These included the NAACP where he was a national staffer in the Health Advocacy
Division (Baltimore, MD) and the City of Jackson, MS holding the title of account executive with the
Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He is a former columnist who has published a host of editorials on social issues that have appeared in
several Gannett newspapers, the Vicksburg Post and the Louisiana Weekly. He has also published
academic works in the American Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Extension. Dr. Guinn has
delivered numerous public speeches an array of topics at national conferences around the country
including: American Public Health Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, American
Sociological Association, Association of Black Sociologists and the Southern Rural Sociological

A 1998 and 2001 graduate of Jackson State University, he received the BS and MA degrees in criminal
justice and sociology, respectively. He went on to earn the PhD at Wayne State University in medical
sociology (Detroit, MI). He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and the
Jackson State University National Alumni Association. The Port Gibson High School (Port Gibson, MS)
graduate is currently completing the MBA at Missouri State University (Springfield, MO).

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Latrice Rogers

April 11th, 2017 by giving

The Mississippi Small Business Association named Latrice Rogers, a Brandon resident and owner of Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair Bar (125 W. Northside Drive), as the recipient of the 2017 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award last week. SBA will formally present Rogers with the award in a ceremony in May.

Goddess Lengths primarily provides hair extensions but also employs several makeup artists and stylists, and features hair-care products and other beauty items for sale. Rogers opened her shop in 2014 and has made more than $1 million since it opened.

"I never win anything like this, so receiving this kind of award from the SBA feels like a huge accomplishment for me," she says. "I've always been fascinated with beauty, and growing up, people would often compliment me on hair and clothing. I can just close my eyes, feel a person's hair and tell them all about it, so it wasn't much for me to just jump into this line of work where I can do something I love."




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Junoesque E. Jacobs, Ph.D. ’88 & ‘13

March 12th, 2017 by giving

Dr. Junoesque (affectionately called Juno) E. Jacobs is the Business Intelligence Analyst in the division of Academic Information Technology at Jackson State University.  She recently retired after 25 years and 9 months with Tougaloo College as the Director of Enrollment Services.

She is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations, just to name a few include:  National Association of College Deans, Registrars & Admissions Officers (where she served as past president, executive secretary, and local arrangements chairman); Rust College National Alumni Association, Life member (Jackson-Hinds chapter president); Jackson State University National Alumni Association, Tougaloo College National Alumni Association (Friend of the College); Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated-Beta Delta Omega Chapter (assistant secretary and Think HBCU chairman); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); International Community Ambassadors Network (I!CAN).

A graduate of Rust College, ‘86 with a BS degree in Business Education, a Master’s in Business Education from Jackson State University, ‘88 and a Doctorate in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University, ‘13 prepared her for over 26 years in higher education.  Dr. Jacobs is a strong HBCU advocate and truly believes everyone can serve.  She is a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

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V. Lynn Evans

March 6th, 2017 by giving

Memphis accountant V. Lynn Evans was elected Thursday to chair the Tennessee Valley Authority this year as the utility's board transitions from all Democrats to a majority of Republican directors under incoming President Donald Trump.

Evans, who was appointed to the TVA board four years ago after serving as chairwoman of TVA's biggest customer, is the first African-American to serve as chairperson of TVA in its 83-year history. She is also the first female and first Memphis resident to chair the board.

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Kristy Johnson

November 30th, 2016 by giving


Mississippi winner Kristy Johnson, alumna of Jackson State University, proves beauty queens are more than a pretty face as she prepares to represent the state in the Miss Black USA National Scholarship Pageant.

Her platform, “Be Empowered,” focuses on reprogramming youth into believing in themselves, their communities and surroundings. During her reign, she will host summits, service projects and other community activities throughout Mississippi. “Because service is near and dear to my heart, this great state needs to see more activism within our younger populations. Each of us has a skill that we can use for the greater good of our communities,” Johnson said.

Johnson will represent Mississippi in the national pageant Aug. 2-7, 2017, in D.C. She will vie for a $5,000 academic scholarship, a trip to Africa, wardrobe by Liliana Shoes and ORS Olive Oil Hair products. As well, the winner will serve as a celebrity advocate for the Heart Truth campaign, which raises awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death of women in the U.S.

Miss Black USA is the nation’s premier pageant for women of color. To date, the nonprofit organization, headquartered in Maryland, has awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships to its participants.


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Katina Rankin

July 27th, 2016 by giving

Katina Rankin Book Release Photograph 2

New Children's Book Addresses Similarities and Minor Differences That Still Exists Among Southerners and Northerners In A Colorful and Kid Friendly Way!

"Up North, Down South", is a new children's book by Television Anchor Katina Rankin  that addresses still-too-common misconceptions about the south.

"Up North, Down South: City Folk Meet Country Folk", is a book that shows young people it doesn't matter your geographical area, we are more alike albeit southern or northern.

9-year-old McKennley and his 7-year-old sister Kendall are growing up in New York City. They are about to go on a summer vacation to Mississippi where they've heard several rumors about the rural state.

Rumors like "Folks from the south talk funny. They say y'all and wave at everybody they pass on the street. They don't have regular pets like cats and dogs. They only have cows, goats and chickens. And, sometimes they act like cavemen."

But, once the children spend some time in the country they soon realize there are very few differences between city folk and country folk.

"This book takes children on a journey across Mississippi, while addressing still-too-common misconceptions about the state in an age-appropriate manner. This book entertains the reader while showing that Mississippi is a wonderful state with wonderful people. I believe this book will instill pride in Mississippi’s children, as well as help the children outside of our state gain an appreciation for Mississippi." – Marcus L. Thompson, Chief Administrative Officer at the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

"Up North, Down South" is a chapter book for children Pre-K through 5th grade with global themes and relevance.

"Up North, Down South" is available online at

About The Author: Katina Rankin is an Emmy-nominated television news anchor.

Katina is a native of Magee, Mississippi. She received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Alcorn State University and her master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Jackson State University.

Rankin is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, the Athletes for Progress Award and has been honored by many other prestigious organizations. Rankin has also been named Mississippi Woman of the Year.

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Joi L. Owens

July 20th, 2016 by giving

joi oJoi L. Owens's, 2016 National Juvenile Justice Fellow, advocacy project will focus on education in the juvenile justice system. Owens is the Managing Attorney and Legislative Liaison for Disability Rights Mississippi. She focuses on systemic reform related to people with disabilities in facilities and institution across the state of Mississippi. Joi advocates for juvenile justice reform, education reform, and criminal justice reform and represents incarcerated children and adults to address unconstitutional and abusive conditions in jails and juvenile detention centers. Youth with disabilities enter juvenile correctional facilities with educational, mental health, medical, and social needs. Owens will work with facilities in Mississippi to develop policies and procedures to ensure kids receive appropriate services. She received her Speech Communication from Jackson State University and her law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.

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