One of North Carolina A&T State University’s most vocal alumnae has added yet another feather to her cap.
On Sept. 28, Dr. Velma Speight-Buford, also known as “Miss Aggie Pride,” joined more than 275 distinguished alumni from historically black colleges and universities as inductees into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.
“It is the greatest honor that I have ever received,” she said. “That organization is keeping the legacy of HBCUs alive. That is a legacy we ought to cherish and it’s a legacy that should live on.”
She was honored in the category of lifetime achievement during a weekend-long conference in Atlanta. A life-long educator, she received both her bachelor’s degrees from N.C. A&T in mathematics and French.
True to A&T’s reputation, the Aggies had the largest and the liveliest delegation of supporters present at the ceremony.
“My Aggie family represented me well – Aggie Pride was all over the place,” Speight-Buford said. “When I stood up to accept my award, the first thing I heard was ‘Aggie Pride’ and I gave it right back to them.”
This was the 27th year for the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Weekend Conference. The conference, held in Atlanta, included the inaugural Legacy of Leaders Awards Luncheon, Black College Queens Competition, an official NCAA sanctioned golf tournament and the Competition of Black College Gospel Choirs and, the highlight of the weekend, the Hall of Fame Induction Reception and Ceremony.
This year, Speight-Buford was one of 13 HBCU alums honored for leadership and accomplishments in their respective industries and communities.
“I hope that I represented A&T well,” she said. “Two years ago at the Southern Education Foundation meeting, I talked so much about HBCUs, they said I was the moral compass for HBCUs, and that is a title that I wear with pride.”
Speight-Buford received her masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Maryland College Park.
Her faith in her alma mater is rooted in her personal history with the school. It began when the Snow Hill native was a student and almost too poor to attend college. She received financial assistance along with other support and nurturing, while making friends with people whom she remains close.
The support Speight-Buford received as a student helped her develop an unrivaled devotion to paying it forward. She has generously given monetary, property and planned gifts to the university.
She has also given her time and talents to the university, serving in various leadership roles throughout the institution. She has previously been honored by the university, the N.C. A&T State University Alumni Association and the N.C. A&T University Foundation.