Six standouts to be honored during tribute to UC Black Excellence

Outstanding achievements within the University of Cincinnati family are the focus of the ninth annual Onyx & Ruby Gala, to be hosted by the UC African Alumni Affiliate on Feb. 18 at the Graduate Cincinnati Hotel on the UC campus. 

The African American Alumni Affiliate (4A) will present six awards at the Onyx & Ruby Gala, including celebrations of tremendous lifetime professional accomplishment, the active uplifting of others, shaping students' personal and professional development, and demonstrated leadership among young alumni and students.

The honoree group is headlined by Georgia E. Beasley Legacy Award recipient Reginald Wilkinson, EdD, CECH '98, a global leader in the field of corrections training and long-time director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

This is the day when we honor and acknowledge UC's African American difference-makers in the community.

Eku Williams, Bus '00, 4A chair

"There is nothing like the Onyx & Ruby Gala!" said Eku Williams, Bus '00, 4A chair. "This is the day when we honor and acknowledge UC's African American difference-makers in the community. It's a time when we come together, have fun, look good, and network with each other — proud of ourselves and each other's accomplishments — while raising money for the Shani Scholarship Fund."

Williams was referring to the Onyx & Ruby Gala's philanthropic mission of supporting the Shani Scholarship Fund, which supports underrepresented students to help them pursue study-abroad or international co-op experience. In addition, sponsorships supporting the Onyx & Ruby Gala are available at four different levels. For more information about the Onyx & Ruby Gala, including to learn more about sponsorships, visit the Onyx & Ruby Gala page.

2023 Onyx & Ruby Honorees

Georgia E. Beasley Legacy Award
Reginald Wilkinson, EdD, CECH '98

Linda Bates Parker Legend Award
Judge Cheryl D. Grant, A&S '66, Law '73

Pillar of the Community Award
Kerry Charles, A&S '05

Tower of Strength Award
Cecily Goode, Bus '93, CECH '00

Emerging Leader Award
Ashley Townes, PhD, CECH '10, '12

Student Trailblazer Award
Raphael Hicks, CEAS '23

Headshot of Maggie Ibrahim-Taney

Maggie Ibrahim-Taney

Program Director of Alumni & Donor Experience, Special Interest & Athletics Engagement


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