FAMU Nat’l Alumni Association Honors 16 Distinguished Alumni at Convention

Standing: Howard Burton, John Pugh, Rodney Smith, William Youmans III, Oliver Gilbert III, Milton Corley Sr., Otis Cliatt II, Harry Williams, Henry Lawrence Seated: Yolanda Pinkard, Phyllis Taite, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Alana Bledsoe, Lisa LaBoo, Layla McCall Stafford, DPT, Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D. Photos Credit Michael Cork

By Kathy Y. Times

Two mayors and a former NFL standout, who won three Super Bowl rings, are among distinguished Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni honored during a black-tie gala on Friday May 17, in Birmingham, Ala.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards gala is one of the highlights of the four-day FAMU National Alumni Association Annual (NAA) Convention being held at the Hyatt-Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and former Los Angeles Raiders Tackle Henry “Killer” Lawrence are among 16 alumni lauded for their outstanding service and distinguished careers.

“It’s always a pleasure for the FAMU National Alumni Association to honor its graduates for their successes in life and their contributions to Florida A&M University,” said Col. Gregory L. Clark, FAMU NAA president.

The late Angela M. Bledsoe, who is being recognized posthumously, served as FAMU NAA parliamentarian. She died last October. Her daughter Alana Bledsoe and sister, FAMU Foundation Vice Chair Lisa LaBoo, accepted the award Friday night and announced an endowed scholarship has been established in Bledsoe’s name.

Others being recognized include Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., dean of the FAMU School of Business & Industry and vice president for University Advancement; Florida State Circuit Judge Rodney Smith, who has been nominated for a federal judgeship; Natalie White, senior vice president for the LA Sparks WNBA team; and Phyllis Taite, a FAMU College of Law professor.

Clark added, “The Class of 2019 is representative of the dynamic and diverse accomplishments of our extraordinary alumni. We are paying tribute to alumni representing government, law, business, education, athletics, science and technology and community service. They’ve made FAMU very proud.”


The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients include:

  • Angela M. Bledsoe (Posthumous)              Business
  • Keisha L. Bottoms, Esq. Atlanta, Ga.                 Law/Government
  • Howard C. Burton Tuskegee, Ala.            Business
  • Otis Cliatt, II Dove Canyon, Calif.   Business
  • LTC (Ret.) Milton D. Corley, Sr. Deland, Fla.                Community Service
  • Shawnta S. Friday-Stroud, Ph.D. Tallahassee, Fla.         Business
  • Oliver G. Gilbert III, Esq. Miami Gardens, Fla.  Law/Government
  • Henry Lawrence Palmetto, Fla.              Athletics
  • Layla McCall Stafford, DPT Charlotte, N.C.           Community Service
  • Yolanda L. Pinkard Conyers, Ga.               Technology
  • John Pugh Saginaw, Mich.           Community Service
  • Rodney Smith. Miami, Fla.                 Law/Government
  • Phyllis Taite Ocoee, Fla.                  Education
  • Natalie White Los Angeles, Calif.     Athletics
  • Harry B. Williams Port St. Lucie, Fla.      Community Service
  • William Youmans, III Gotha, Fla.                 Science/Technology
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Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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