Black Alumni Of SMU Honor History Makers, Scholarship Recipients

Accomplished alumni and outstanding students were honored at the fifth annual Black Excellence Ball on February 27 as part of SMU’s observance of Black History Month. Black Alumni of SMU joined the Association of Black Students (ABS) to present the festive evening that included recognition of the 2016 Black History Makers and Black Alumni Scholarship recipients as well as the ABS Legacy Award honorees.

2016 History Makers

Jennifer M. “JJ” Jones ’93, ‘99

Jennifer M. Jones ’93, ’99 has been shaping world changers for more than 30 years. “Her name is synonymous with SMU,” said Deah Mitchell ’13 in her introduction of the campus leader.
Known to almost everyone at the University as “JJ”, she joined the staff in 1985 and has served in a wide range of roles. After 16 years with Residence Life and Student Housing, JJ continued to have a major impact on the student experience as the director of multicultural student affairs and later as the assistance dean of Student Life/director of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs.
Now, as the executive director of Student Life, she supports and advises the Student Association and coordinates the social event registration process through her office. She also supervises the directors of the Women & LGBT Center, family and parent programs and the associate dean over the Caring Community Connections program.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1993 and a master of liberal arts degree in 1999 from SMU. A member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, she has served as National Pan-Hellenic Council president. She travels around the U.S. speaking to Greek councils and other student organizations about student leadership responsibilities and related issues.
At Inside SMU last year, she shared the story of her fight against breast cancer and credited the unbridled support shown by students with keeping her going through the rough patches. “It was affirmed to me that we have the best students in the world,” she said. “That’s why I’ve been here so long.”
Jamal Story ’99 could not make it to the awards ceremony to accept the 2016 Chairman’s Award. The globetrotting dancer/choreographer was on the West Coast for a performance.
After his recent workshop, Jamal Story ’99 gets a lift from SMU dance students.
After his recent workshop, Jamal Story ’99 gets a lift from SMU dance students.

Since earning bachelor’s degrees in dance and communications arts/TV and radio from Meadows School of the Arts, he has worked on stage and as a dance captain for two historic black Broadway shows, The Color Purple and Motown: The Musical, and toured with Madonna and Cher. But his impressive résumé doesn’t end there. He also has served as an ad interim professor of dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and worked with such acclaimed companies as Complexions, Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Donald Byrd/theGroup.
He sits on the board of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and co-chairs its national dancers committee.
The premiere of The Parts They Left Out, a new aerial piece he created for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s annual Cultural Awareness series in February, garnered rave reviews. While he was working in Dallas, he took time off to teach a workshop for SMU dance students.

2016 Black Alumni Scholarship Recipients

Black Alumni Scholarship winners (from left) Stacy Tubonemi ’16, Naomi Samuel ’19 and Mariah Williams ’17.

Naomi Samuel ’19, a first-year finance major and English minor from Garland, Texas, is a BBA scholar in the Cox School of Business. Beyond the classroom, she is involved with Sisters Supporting Sisters, a student organization designed to uplift black women on campus, and serves on the Student Senate Diversity Committee.
Mariah Williams ’17, a junior biology and Spanish major from Chicago, Illinois, serves as the community service chair for the Association of Black Students and is an active contributor to ABC programming efforts throughout the academic year. She also serves as secretary for the Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir. After SMU, Mariah plans to pursue a career in medicine as a pediatric neurologist.
Stacy Tubonemi ’16, a senior finance major from Liberia, serves as the public relations chair for the African Student Association and has been invaluable in strengthening and sustaining the bond between that organization and the ABS. After graduation, Stacy aspires to return to Liberia and use her business degree to promote entrepreneurship.

Association of Black Students Legacy Awards

Alumni honorees:

  • David S. Huntley ’80, AT&T chief compliance officer, who become SMU’s first black student body president (1978-79) after a successful write-in campaign his sophomore year.
  • Jennifer M. “JJ” Jones ’93, ’99
  • Anga Sanders ’70, a member of the “SMU 33” whose activism drew attention to the need for diversity among faculty and in the curriculum and called for improved working conditions for black employees of the University.
  • Jerry LeVias ’68, football legend and the first black player in the Southwest Conference to receive an athletic scholarship, was unable to attend.

Student honorees:

  • Gabrielle Faulkner ’17, a finance major with a fashion media minor from Dallas, has been active in many campus organizations, including Student Senate and Alternative Breaks, and has served as a career development ambassador. Her career goal is to be the CEO of a major fashion brand.
  • Darien Flowers ’18, a management science major with a minor in sociology, works at El Centro Community College/Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development as a department assistant/adjunct faculty teaching GED, workplace preparation, career exploration and planning, and other continuing education courses. He is president of the Upsilon Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
  • Marcus McNeil ’19, an offensive lineman for the Mustangs from San Antonio, is a member of ABS and has been a member of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP for the past five y ears. In his free time he works with such community organizations as The Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio and Black Lives Matter of San Antonio.
  • Briana A. Rollins ’18, a biology major with a minor in sociology from Houston, serves as vice president of Sisters Supporting Sisters. She is the student coordinator of CONNECT Leadership Development Institute, which assists first-year and transfer student of color through peer mentoring and friendship. While at SMU, she has raised more than $40,000 to support campus life and student needs. She plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in neonatal medicine.

Black Alumni Of SMU Honor History Makers, Outstanding Students

Recipients of 2015 Black History Makers Awards presented by the Black Alumni of SMU are (from left) Michael Pegues ’84, Malcolm Gage ’99, Brandy Mickens ’02, Judge Eric Moyé ’76 and Warren Seay ’10, ’13 with Ashley Hamilton ’03, 2014-2015 chair of the Black Alumni Board. Photo by Kevin Gaddis.
Recipients of 2015 Black History Makers Awards presented by the Black Alumni of SMU are (from left) Michael Pegues ’84, Malcolm Gage ’99, Brandy Mickens ’02, Judge Eric Moyé ’76 and Warren Seay ’10, ’13 with Ashley Hamilton ’03, 2014-2015 chair of the Black Alumni Board. Photo by Kevin Gaddis.

Accomplished alumni and students were honored at the fourth annual Black Excellence Ball held this spring as part of SMU’s observance of Black History Month. Black Alumni of SMU joined the Association of Black Students (ABS) to present the celebratory evening that included recognition of the 2015 Black History Makers and Black Alumni Scholarship recipients. ABS Black Excellence Leadership Award recipients also were honored.
> See photos from the event
The Black History Maker Awards are presented to “alumni who have paved the way for black students at SMU,” said Kevelyn Rose ’16, ABS vice president and chair of the ball, who served as MC for the event.

2015 Black History Makers

Malcolm Gage, Jr. ’99
Malcolm R. Gage, Jr. is a leader in his profession and the community. A native of Beaumont, Texas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and corporate communications from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. After graduating, Gage built a 17-year career in the automotive industry and currently serves as sales manager for Park Place Premier Collection, one of the largest luxury purveyors in the country.

2015-2016 Black Alumni Scholarship recipients (from left) Raina Scruggs, Mackenzie Jenkins.
2015-2016 Black Alumni Scholarship recipients (from left) Raina Scruggs ’17, Kiara Wade ’17 and MacKenzie Jenkins ’18. Photo by Kevin Gaddis.

Gage is also an entrepreneur. He is the co-owner and managing partner of Ophelia’s New Soul. The modern soul food restaurant was a season two winner in the Food Network’s “Food Court Wars.” He and his business partner have been recognized among the “Top 50 People Changing the South” by Southern Living Magazine.
In 2013, Gage was recognized by DIFFA Dallas as a Style Council Ambassador, a group comprised of the city’s top influencers and activists each year. His philanthropic activities include the Human Rights Campaign, Immigration Equality, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.
He also is active in the SMU Alumni Association.
Brandy Mickens  ’02
Brandy Mickens has distinguished herself as an award-winning financial services professional and a devoted community volunteer. Mickens earned a B.B.A. in finance from SMU’s Cox School of Business. As a student Mickens served as president of ABS, the community service chair for the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts and as a member of the 2001 Homecoming Court for ABS and National Pan-Hellenic Council. She also was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Soul Sista’s Championship Intramural Basketball Team.
2015 Leadership Award recipients are (from left) Tyrell
2015 Leadership Award recipients are (from left) Tyrell Russell ’16, D’Marquis Allen ’16, Nariana Sands ’16, Brianna Hogg ’17 and Raina Scruggs ’17.

Mickens serves as divisional vice president for AXA Advisors, where she has received numerous honors. Shortly after joining the firm, she received AXA’s Fast Start Award. She also was named Associate of the Year in 2002 and 2003 and received the Centurion Producer Award in 2014. She was selected to serve on AXA’s National Diversity Steering Committee. In 2014, she was promoted to her current position, becoming the first woman in the company’s Texas Retirement Benefits Group to be named to the position.
In the community, she has spearheaded her firm’s relationship with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and has served as a mentor to DISD students. She also is actively involved with her church and sorority.
In addition she served as the development chair for the Black Alumni of SMU from 2012-2014.
Eric Moyé ’76
The Honorable Eric Vaughn Moyé serves the community with dedication and distinction. He graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976 and earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1979.
As an attorney, he was licensed by the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the U.S. Court of Claims, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas and the Northern District of California, all courts of the State of Texas and the State of New York.
Judge Moyé’s legal career has been highlighted by a series of firsts. He joined Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in 1979 and was the first African-American lawyer to be hired by a major Dallas law firm. In 2008, he became the first African American to be elected a Civil District Court Judge in Dallas.
Another career high point occurred in 1993, when then-Governor Ann Richards appointed him judge of the 101st Civil District Court of Dallas County, the highest level trial court in Texas.
Judge Moyé has been active in numerous professional organizations including the State Bar of Texas, the State Bar of New York, the American Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Dallas Bar Association, the Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association, the American Association for Justice, the American Judicature Society and the Texas Bar Foundation. He is a frequent lecturer to practitioners about effective trial advocacy through the Dallas and State of Texas Bar Associations.
He has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of History in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. For the past 18 years, he has been a member of the guest faculty of the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop.
Michael Pegues ’84
Michael Pegues demonstrates a commitment to excellence as an attorney and as a volunteer for his alma mater. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Pegues enrolled in SMU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering in 1984.
He began his career with  LTV Aerospace and Defense Company’s Armadillo Works division. For five years he was assigned to the B-2 Stealth Bomber design team as a stress analyst.
In 1991, he earned  a Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School and served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard A. Schell ’72, ’75 of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The clerkship led to a position as an associate in the intellectual property section of Haynes and Boone, LLP.  He later became a partner at Haynes and Boone. He also was a partner with Bracewell & Guiliana, LLP, before taking his current role as partner and intellectual property litigator with Polsinelli in Dallas.
Pegues has served on the Lyle School of Engineering Executive Board for many years and also has provided his leadership to the school’s Campaign Steering Committee during SMU’s Second Century Campaign. He also supports the Lyle Scholars program, which enables the engineering school to recruit the best and the brightest students.
Warren Seay, Jr. ’10, ’13
Warren Seay, Jr. exemplifies the term “world changer.” The DeSoto High School graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from SMU’s Dedman College, graduating summa cum laude from SMU in 2010.
As an SMU student, he was a Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt Leadership Scholar, Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar and one of 50 students to receive the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, an award presented by President Barack Obama for high academic achievement and commitment to public service. Seay also was recognized as a USA Today Academic All-American and served as a Basileus of the Nu Kappa chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. His work experience includes stints at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C., at the National Association of School Boards and at TV-ONE as a production assistant when President Obama was nominated in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
While a student, Seay won a seat on the DeSoto Independent School District Board of Trustees in 2009, becoming the youngest elected official in the state of Texas at age 20. He is now serving his fourth term as board president and is among the youngest school board presidents in the nation.
Seay earned his Juris Doctor, graduating cum laude from Dedman School of Law in 2013. He is currently an associate with Winstead PC in the firm’s real estate finance group.
As a writer and speaker, he explores a wide range of social issues. A chapter he authored – “Human Rights in Egypt” – has been published in Human Rights and National Security Dilemmas. He also drafted a chapter on affirmative action in Contentious Social Issues and has served as a guest lecturer at the University of North Texas at Dallas and American University in Washington D.C., with the presentation “‘Joshua Generation Rises: The Intentional Transformation of Public Education in DeSoto, Texas.”
His community involvement includes serving as a member of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s Young Leaders Alliance. Johnson is a 1976 graduate of SMU. He also serves on the board of the Moore Foundation’s A Careful Mind mental health initiative and the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas.

2015-2016 Black Alumni Scholarship Recipients
ABS Black Excellence Leadership Award Recipients
  • D’Marquis Allen ’16, junior from Round Rock, Texas majoring in computer engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering, 2014-2015 ABS president.
  • Brianna Hogg ’17, sophomore from Dallas majoring in business marketing at the Cox School of Business.
  • Ailey Pope ’15, master’s student in Perkins School of Theology.
  • Tyrell Russell ’16, junior from Riviera Beach, Florida, majoring in biochemistry in Dedman College.
  • Nariana Sands ’16, junior from Dallas majoring in computer science in the Lyle School of Engineering.
  • Raina Scruggs ’17