Campus News

Awards, scholarships given at 2021 BFSO ceremony

UGA President Jere W. Morehead announces contribution to organization’s scholarships

Six UGA students and four staff members received scholarships and awards during the Black Faculty and Staff Organization’s 2021 Founders’ Award Scholarship Ceremony, held virtually Oct. 21.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead expressed his appreciation to the BFSO and announced that he is contributing $10,000 to the organization’s scholarships through discretionary funds provided by the UGA Athletic Association.

“The scholarships that you all provide help our best and brightest students focus more on achieving their goals of a higher education and less on how they will pay for it,” he said. “I commend you for the work you do to support our students and build community among Black faculty and staff members at the University of Georgia.”

The scholarship awards recognize full-time UGA students who demonstrate impactful service and leadership in the African American community. Scholarships are presented in honor of the BFSO founders, who worked to advance the efforts of BFSO and improve the Black experience on campus.

The 2021 scholarship awardees are:

  • Undergraduate Founders Award: Jaquarius Raglin, a fourth-year student in the College of Public Health
  • Graduate Founders Award: David Richards, a doctoral candidate in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Professional Founders Award: Tierra Jackson, a third-year student in the College of Pharmacy
  • Myron G. Burney Service Award: Kevin C. Nwogu, a fourth-year student in the Terry College of Business
  • Mark Dawkins Leadership Award: Gabriel Smallwood, a senior in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Melanie Burden Community Arts Award: Persia Tillman, a second-year student in the College of Pharmacy

The 2021 BFSO scholarship awardees are, from left, David Richards, Graduate Founders Award; Tierra Jackson, Professional Founders Award; Jaquarius Raglin, Undergraduate Founders Award; Kevin C. Nwogu, Myron G. Burney Service Award; and Gabriel Smallwood, Mark Dawkins Leadership Award .Not pictured: Persia Tillman, Melanie Burden Community Arts Award. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

UGA staff members are honored with the Ed Wilker Memorial Egalitarian Award, which recognizes the occupational excellence of UGA staff members. The 2021 awardees are Sherkeeca Brown, Human Resources; Shamika Howard, University Housing; Lonette Kelley, Facilities Management; and John Lawrence, Dining Services.

The 2021 Ed Wilker Memorial Egalitarian Award recipients are, from left, Shamika Howard, University Housing; Sherkeeca Brown, Human Resources; and John Lawrence, Dining Services. Not pictured: Lonette Kelley, Facilities Management. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Joni Taylor, head coach of the UGA Lady Bulldogs, served as the keynote speaker and shared with the audience how they can become legends in their own right.

“I think we can all be legendary in our space, in our area,” she said.

The first step, Taylor said, is for each person to know who they are.

“If you’re not clear on your values, then you can’t be clear with your tradeoffs when it’s time to make life decisions. Know what non-negotiables are,” she said. “You can’t lead anyone else if you don’t know who you are.”

Taylor challenged the audience to always bring their best and work hard.

“Do all that you can so that you can surrender the results,” she said. “You may not like the results … but you walk away knowing that you brought your best.”

Taylor shared an equation she uses in her own life—Events + Response = Outcome—reminding attendees that their response to events determines the outcome. When people learn to flip the switch and reframe negative events in a positive light, that’s when the outcome will be different, she said.

To learn more or join the organization, email Deborah Elder, clinical professor in the College of Pharmacy, at