04 Apr 2024

SAU Students Soar Above Challenges at 2024 Honors Convocation

Amidst a flurry of negative and sometimes misleading narratives, one of North Carolina’s historically black colleges/universities (HBCUs) tells its own story of resilience. Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) soared above the challenges at its 2024 Honors Convocation, themed “Soaring Above the Storm.” The event captivated audiences with a message of resilience and academic excellence.

“Over 50% of our students made at least a 3.0 GPA last semester,” said SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess. “We want to make sure that our story is about the triumphs, academic excellence, education, and teaching and learning happening here.”

The virtual event was broadcasted on SAU’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, and SAU students shined as they received recognition for their outstanding achievements. These achievements included prestigious accolades such as the Dean’s List, Provost List, and President’s List. The Honors Convocation, the final event in the university’s trilogy of annual convocations, highlighted the dedication and academic prowess of SAU’s student body.

“There are a lot of stories being told about SAU right now. Unfortunately, these are not the stories that capture the magic of this campus or its students,” said SAU Interim Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Janelle Jennings-Alexander. “This Honors Convocation is the opportunity for our campus to tell its own story. These are stories of success, triumph, perseverance, achievement, and stories that confirm that despite everything, we are still thriving.”

The following students received recognition within their respective schools:

Academic Excellence in the Wake Men’s & Women’s Leadership Academies Early College Program

  • Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy: Margaret Marathe
  • Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy: Simeon Davis, who was offered a full-ride presidential scholarship from SAU.

Academic Excellence in the School of Education & General Studies

  • General Studies: Tangela N. Ormond, a former student who returned to SAU to complete her education at SAU.
  • Outstanding Senior: Frederica Johnson, Sacramento, CA, Health/Physical Education/Non-Teaching

Academic Excellence in the School of Arts, Social Sciences, and Communications

  • Arts & Communications: De’Carlos Rowell, Washington, DC, Theatre Major
  • Social Sciences: Selia Mather, Nassau, Bahamas, Psychology major
  • Criminal Justice: J’niyah Love, First Generation College Student
  • Outstanding Senior: Holly Millsaps, Statesville, NC, Political Science Major, Campaign manager for Arizona candidate Barry McCain for US House of Representatives

Academic Excellence in Extended Studies:

  • Criminal Justice: Kendra Dunn
  • Religious Studies: Tammy Blue
  • Outstanding Senior: Ashley Dunn

Academic Excellence in the School of Business, Management, & Technology, the only ACBSP-accredited business program in the Triangle

  • Organizational Management (Extended Studies): Jerlonda Jefferies, Charlotte, NC, started at SAU in 2017 and left in 2018. She returned to SAU and will graduate in 2024.
  • Sport Management: Kevin Brewington, Winston-Salem, NC, accepted to MBA program at Elizabeth City State University.
  • Computer Information Systems: Noah Wheeler, a Raleigh native, Former Early College student who will intern at SAS this summer in Cary, NC.
  • Business Administration: Louis Keenan Lowndes, Winston-Salem, NC, 10th Mister SAU and Mister CIAA, accepted job offer from Deloitte consulting group.
  • Accounting: Ashley Weekes, Barbados, 73rd Miss SAU, accepted to master’s in accounting program at NC A&T on a full scholarship and fellowship.
  • Outstanding Senior: Emmanuel Bryant, who served on the winning HP Case study team in 2023, accepted job offer in Finance from Wells Fargo Global in Charlotte, NC

Academic Excellence in the School of Science, Mathematics, and Allied Health

  • Biological & Physical Science: Joevensky Seme, Statesville, NC, Biology major, accepted to Physician Assistant Program at AT Still University
  • Mathematics: Joyce Jepleting, Kapsebet, Kenya, developed a mobile app for micro banking, accepted to the MS Engineering program at Grand Valley State University
  • Outstanding Senior: Richara Bain, Nassau, Bahamas, Biology Major and co-author on two published scientific papers, accepted to the MS in Biological Science program at Grand Valley State University.

Academic Excellence in the School of Health Sciences and Public Health

  • Exercise Science: Nayara Pereira, San Paolo, Brazil, 2023 All-CIAA Volleyball 2nd Team Libero
  • Outstanding Senior: Venisha Robin, Miami, FL, Public Health

Dr. Jasmine Weiss, UNC School of Medicine Assistant Professor served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Weiss, a board-certified pediatrician, esteemed public speaker, and the CEO of Black Med Connect, mesmerized attendees with her journey from FAMU to Duke University School of Medicine, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and community impact. Her leadership as the founder of Black Med Connect exemplifies SAU’s mission of producing visionary change-makers dedicated to serving underserved communities.

“When you are thinking about how you move through obstacles and challenges, it’s essential that you first find your path and ultimately find your purpose,” said Dr. Weiss in her keynote address. “Every challenge you see, every obstacle you face, I want you to remember that you can be a part of the solution.”

As SAU defies expectations and showcases academic excellence, the 2024 Honors Convocation is a testament to the university’s unwavering commitment to educating and empowering students for a brighter tomorrow.

Click here to watch the recording of the 2024 Honors Convocation.

Click here to view the 2024 Honors Convocation Program to see a full listing of honors society, scholarship, dean’s list, provost’s list and president’s list honorees.