The event, a fundraiser for an endowed scholarships at WSSU that is named for WSSU’s late legendary basketball coach, will begin at noon at the school’s Anderson Center and will include a celebration of former honorees and entertainment by The Alpha Collective.
“Coach Gaines was a teacher, confidant and surrogate father to many of us,” said Bethel Johnson Burton, a WSSU alum and founder of the Gaines Unsung Hero Scholarship Awards. “We honor those who demonstrate his commitment to pursuing a level of excellence in athletics, science and humanities, as well as his community service. Our efforts also support an endowment for need-based scholarships in his honor and, to date, we have awarded $88,375 to 12 scholarship recipients.”
This year, awards will go to the following:
• Dr. Virginia K. Newell, a WSSU professor emeritus who has been credited as the single force behind acquiring computers for WSSU and creating the foundation for a computer science program at the university;
• Keith Grandberry, the president and CEO of the Urban League of Winston-Salem since 2006 who has led that organization into an expansion of its services and its facilities;
• Hoops, Inc. (Helping Obtain Opportunities and Privileges for Students), which was founded in 1999 to create a strong relationship between WSSU and the local community by using athletics;
• Thomas J. Cunningham, a former WSSU basketball star who was a member of the renowned Harlem Globetrotters for seven years and also served as the team’s public relations representative;
• Dr. Michael Magruder, who has been the director of bands at WSSU since the fall of 2004 and is known as an outstanding arranger, conductor, educator, performer, technician and bandmaster; and
• Jacqueline Pittman Cureton, an accomplished WSSU fundraiser, ambassador and an inspiration to students entering the field of education.
Jakay W. Ervin and Carleina Hampton Harris will receive special recognition awards. Ervin, a 1958 graduate, continues to demonstrate a commitment to service and excellence through his contributions to the community and his political activities.
Harris has demonstrated her love and support for WSSU since the 1970s by giving back to her alma mater and encouraging her friends to do the same.
Tickets are $75. Buy them at the WSSU Ticket Office (lower level of the Anderson Center) or by calling 336-750-3220.