The Fourth Annual Gift of Giving Gala



On the night of April 20th, The Student Success Leadership Council hosted a night of elegance in celebration of the accomplishments of various black alumni and student leaders. Hundreds of guests filled every seat in the large ballroom of the Hotel at the University of Maryland, making for a lively scene at the fourth annual Gift of Giving Gala.

The night began with a musical performance by Dimitri Logan, a Theatre major at the University of Maryland. Logan’s performance was followed by the “Influencers of the Year” presentation, in which several alumni were recognized for their continuous impact as leaders and examples of Black excellence. 4 individuals were among the award winners recognized.

After the “Influencers of the Year” received their honors, alumnus Kawan Glover was awarded the Aaron McGruder Trailblazer Award, which honors an individual who has exhibited passion and dedication to making a difference in their surrounding world. Following Glover’s recognition, alumnus Anthony R. Keith, artistically known as Tony the Poet, performed a spoken word poetry piece.

The next individual to be recognized was Nefertiti Nassar, who received the Hiram Whittle Legacy Award. This award recognizes the engagement and contributions of the recipient to the Maryland community and professionally. Nassar spoke of the great honor she felt in receiving an award named after the first African-American undergraduate student to attend the University of Maryland.

Current students Misha Bucknor and Yoseph Tewodros were next to be honored, receiving the Alexandra Givan Involvement Award and Damien Pinkett Involvement Award, respectively. These recognitions honor current students who have demonstrated exemplary academic, social, and civil engagement in the University’s black community.

After several musical selections by the University’s very own, 10 Issues Collective, Dr. Rashawn Ray received the M. Lucia James Impact Award which recognizes his significant academic and social impact on the University’s Black community as a Maryland staff member.

The University of Maryland Black Alumni also recognized the Black Engineers Society with their award for their outstanding accomplishments as an organization. Recent graduate, Ashley Lyles, provided the audience with another musical selection.

The night concluded with dancing and much well-deserved celebration of the vast accomplishments of Black alumni, students, and staff at the University of Maryland. Thank you to everyone who attended and made this night such a success!

Kiana Jones