Press release: Founding members of leadership society honored



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


May 17, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is recognizing the founding members of the Alpha Beta Omega World Leaders Society during a May 17 awards ceremony to honor the students for their groundbreaking work.

GRCC organized Alpha Beta Omega in Fall 2012 to foster the academic success of African-American males.  “All students are capable of success if given a supportive and motivating academic environment. Our goal at GRCC is to provide this environment for each of our students. ABO is just one way GRCC does that,” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender.

According to a 2012 report by professor Shaun Harper, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equality of Education, African-American men represent just 4 percent of all undergraduate students nationally, with the lowest completion rates of all major racial groups. Harper’s report explores stories of achievement and success among African-American men to determine what institutions must do to foster a greater sense of belonging and improve rates of academic success among this group.

“The purpose of ABO is simple,” said Andre Fields, an assistant professor and counselor with GRCC’s Counseling and Career Center. “It is to help young men develop the skill sets and the foundation of knowledge that they’re going to need to serve as leaders with their families, in their community, and as world leaders.”

Alpha Beta Omega started with 30 members. Of those members, 30 percent achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and another 30 percent had GPAs of 2.4 to 2.9.

Members participated in workshops, field trips and community service projects. They volunteered at this year’s Kent County ‘Above the Influence’ Youth Summit and worked on reading skills with 56 fourth-graders at the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy in the Grand Rapids school district.

“Leadership is an integral thing,” said ABO member Brent Smith. “You’ve got to stand for what you believe in, no matter what. No matter who tells you that you can’t, you know you can if you just give it the effort.”

The Alpha Beta Omega award winners are:

  • Lawerence Turley, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner.
  • Marlon Wilson, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner.
  • Sean Smith, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner and Academic Scholar of the Year.
  • Mose Stamps, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner.
  • Tyrell Frederick, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner and Community Outreach Award.
  • James Moseley, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner.
  • Mark Gregory, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner.
  • LC Cooper, 3.0 or higher GPA Scholarship Winner and Community Outreach Award.
  • Jonathan Jackson, Academic Scholar of the Year and Community Outreach Award.
  • Lance Littlejohn, Community Outreach Award.
  • Corey Taylor, Most Improved Member.
  • Dontarye Carlisle, Father of the Year.
  • Rodney Cobbins, Transfer Student of the Year and Community Outreach Award.
  • Ulysses Echols, Like a Rock Award Winner.
  • Courtney Means, Community Outreach Award.
  • Todd Johnson, Community Outreach Award.
  • London Nathan, Most Improved Member and Community Outreach Award.
  • Andrew Marsh, Transfer Student of the Year.
  • Phillip Greene, Staff Success Coach of the Year.
  • Christopher Sain and Mursalata Muhammad, ABO Success Coaches of the Year

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.