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FAMU NAA Honors 16 Distinguished Alumni at 2019 Convention

Thursday, May 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Artisha Polk
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Two mayors and a former NFL standout, who won three Super Bowl rings, are among distinguished Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni honored during a black-tie gala on Friday May 17, in Birmingham, Ala.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards gala is one of the highlights of the four-day FAMU National Alumni Association Annual (NAA) Convention being held at the Hyatt-Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and former Los Angeles Raiders Tackle Henry “Killer” Lawrence are among 16 alumni lauded for their outstanding service and distinguished careers. 

“It’s always a pleasure for the FAMU National Alumni Association to honor its graduates for their successes in life and their contributions to Florida A&M University,” said Col. Gregory L. Clark, FAMU NAA president.

The late Angela M. Bledsoe, who is being recognized posthumously, served as FAMU NAA parliamentarian. She died last October. Her daughter Alana Bledsoe and sister, FAMU Foundation Vice Chair Lisa LaBoo, accepted the award Friday night and announced an endowed scholarship has been established in Bledsoe’s name.

Others being recognized include Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., dean of the FAMU School of Business & Industry and vice president for University Advancement; Florida State Circuit Judge Rodney Smith, who has been nominated for a federal judgeship; Natalie White, senior vice president for the LA Sparks WNBA team; and Phyllis Taite, a FAMU College of Law professor. 

Clark added, “The Class of 2019 is representative of the dynamic and diverse accomplishments of our extraordinary alumni. We are paying tribute to alumni representing government, law, business, education, athletics, science and technology and community service. They’ve made FAMU very proud.”

 The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients include:

  • Angela M. Bledsoe                             (Posthumous)             Business
  • Keisha L. Bottoms, Esq.                     Atlanta, Ga.                Law/Government
  • Howard C. Burton                              Tuskegee, Ala.            Business
  • Otis Cliatt, II                                       Dove Canyon, Calif.  Business
  • LTC (Ret.) Milton D. Corley, Sr.        Deland, Fla.                Community Service
  • Shawnta S. Friday-Stroud, Ph.D.       Tallahassee, Fla.          Business
  • Oliver G. Gilbert III, Esq.                   Miami Gardens, Fla.   Law/Government
  • Henry Lawrence                                 Palmetto, Fla.              Athletics
  • Layla McCall Stafford, DPT              Charlotte, N.C.            Community Service
  • Yolanda L. Pinkard                             Conyers, Ga.               Technology
  • John Pugh                                           Saginaw, Mich.            Community Service
  • Rodney Smith.                                    Miami, Fla.                  Law/Government
  • Phyllis Taite                                        Ocoee, Fla.                  Education
  • Natalie White                                      Los Angeles, Calif.     Athletics
  • Harry B. Williams                               Port St. Lucie, Fla.      Community Service
  • William Youmans, III                         Gotha, Fla.                   Science/Technology

Photo Credit: Michael A. Cork

Howard Burton, John Pugh, Rodney Smith, William Youmans III, Oliver Gilbert III, Milton Corley Sr., Otis Cliatt II, Harry Williams, Henry Lawrence

Seated: Yolanda Pinkard, Phyllis Taite, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Alana Bledsoe, Lisa LaBoo, Layla McCall Stafford, DPT, Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D.

About FAMU

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, founded on October 3, 1887, began classes with 15 students and two instructors. Today, FAMU is one of 12 institutions in Florida’s State University System and has nearly 10,000 students.

Florida A&M University offers a combined total of 54 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, 12 doctoral degrees, and three (3) professional degrees.  The three professional degrees include the J.D., Pharm.D., and the Doctor of Physical Therapy. For more information, visit

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Phone: (850) 599-3861/3707
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