Dr. Liz Zimmerman Keitt, immediate past president of the Claflin University International Alumni Association, has been selected to receive the second annual Legacy of Leaders National Alumni President of the Year Award from the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
In addition, the Greater New York Chapter of the Claflin University International Alumni Association will receive the second annual Legacy of Leaders Small Alumni Chapter of the Year Award.
Keitt was nominated for the honor by the University and its International Alumni Association for her exemplary leadership and service, as well as her outstanding support of the Orangeburg community and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She stepped down from her post as CUIAA president on June 30 after serving in the position for six years.
Keitt was inducted into the Claflin University Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Claflin University Visionary Leadership Award at the 39th CUIAA Annual Convention in April. She said in a recent interview that her greatest success as CUIAA president was revitalizing alumni chapters by building connections between members and bringing the younger generation into the organization.
Under her leadership, the organization added a second vice president between the ages of 21 and 35, giving the younger group an opportunity to learn leadership skills and get more involved in the CUIAA. Keitt also led alumni to their highest point of giving ever, with 45 percent of alumni donating to the University.
Keitt – who in 1988 became the first African-American since Reconstruction to be elected to Orangeburg City Council and is founder and director of the free after-school tutoring program Project Life: Positeen – will share the National Alumni President of the Year Award with Frances Peppers, president of the North Carolina A&T State University National Alumni Association.
The Greater New York Chapter of the CUIAA is comprised of alumni members from Brooklyn, the Bronx, White Plains, Long Island, Manhattan and the surrounding areas.
Under the leadership of chapter president Candice I. Bugg, this small chapter has exhibited growing attendance at its signature fundraising event, the New York Dinner Dance. The proceeds from this event allow the chapter to contribute a minimum of $10,000 annually to the CUIAA.
The Greater New York Chapter is also heavily involved in recruiting Claflin students from the New York area, and offers a variety of programs and events to meet the needs and interests of Claflin University, including working as community volunteers and taking part in networking opportunities, philanthropic projects, social events and meetings.
In addition, the chapter hosts an annual picnic for new Claflin students who will begin their matriculation in the fall. Current Claflin students and their parents are invited to participate in the event, as well, which provides an opportunity to foster relationships among new and returning Claflin students and their families from the Greater New York area. Scholarships are also provided to deserving Claflin students from that region.
The Legacy of Leaders awards will be presented at the Legacy of Leaders Alumni Awards Luncheon at noon Friday, Sept. 27, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, Ga. Honorees are also invited to attend an array of events during the 28th annual Alumni Hall of Fame Weekend, including the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the Competition of Black College Queens, and a variety of workshops and forums.
The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth and development of HBCUs through scholarships, internships, training and technical assistance, alumni recognition and programs to encourage humanitarian involvement. For more information, visit http://www.nbcahof.org/.