Q&A with Chancellor’s Citation Recipient Connie Orlando ’89

Constance “Connie” Orlando ’89, head of programming for Black Entertainment Television (BET), will receive a Chancellor’s Citation at this week’s Coming Back Together reunion. She previously was the senior vice president for specials, music programming and news at BET. In her current role, Orlando leads the teams responsible for “The BET Awards,” “Hip Hop Awards,” “The BET Honors,” “Celebration of Gospel” and “Black Girls Rock!”

Before joining BET, Orlando, who also serves on the advisory board for Clark Atlanta University’s television department as the programming committee chair, launched her own full-service production company, CMO Productions. Not long after, CMO struck a partnership with music icon and businessman Jay-Z to produce the first of its kind, direct-to-video movie soundtrack “The Streets Is Watching.”

A recipient of six NAACP awards and a 2016 Network Journal 25 Influential Black Women in Business honoree, Orlando was named a National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) “Top 40 Under 40” as one of cable’s top executives. As a student at Syracuse, Orlando was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She is a 1989 graduate of the Whitman School of Management, and has launched the Connie Orlando endowment for black women with television industry majors.

View the full Q & A at SU News.

Actor-singer Taye Diggs ’93 Returns to Campus for Coming Back Together Book Signing

Most people know Taye Diggs ’93 as an award-winning actor and singer, but when he participates in this week’s Coming Back Together reunion for African American and Latino alumni, he will do so as a best-selling author.

Diggs is the creator of “Mixed Me!” (2015) and “Chocolate Me!” (2011), children’s books that address issues of race and identity. On Saturday, Sept. 16, he will discuss and sign copies of both books from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium. That his longtime friend and former classmate Shane Evans ’93 illustrated them gives the event added significance.

“I never thought I would be a writer, but I used to just write random poems, and leave them lying around the dorm. Shane saw one, and, because he was an artist, would take some of my writing and put them to his art,” Diggs told Entertainment Weekly. “The first thing that he put on display was this poem I wrote called ‘Chocolate Me.’ In its original form, it was more for adults, so he put the poem to some really strong imagery and made a book.”

Read more about his book and signing at SU News.

Carmelo Anthony to Receive Chancellor’s Medal at CBT Reunion Gala Sept. 16

NBA All Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony will receive the Chancellor’s Medal for Philanthropy during the upcoming Coming Back Together (CBT) reunion dinner gala Saturday, Sept. 16. The medal is awarded to individuals in honor of their extraordinary contributions to the University, to their areas of expertise and/or to the community.

A triennial reunion organized by the University’s Office of Program Development, CBT invites the University’s African American and Latino alumni to return to campus to engage with the University, current students and one another. CBT 2017 will be held Sept. 14-17.

NY1 journalist Cheryl Wills Singleton ’89 will emcee the dinner gala, a highlight of CBT weekend, at the Marriot Syracuse Downton. A keynote address will be delivered by former NBA star, entrepreneur and former mayor of Detroit, Michigan, Dave Bing ’66, H’06. Both the Chancellor’s Medal and five Chancellor’s Citation Awards will be presented to diverse members of the University’s alumni network.  

Read more at SU News.

Gwynne Wilcox ’74 Recalls Her SU Experience, Start of CBT (Q&A)

Since its inception in 1983, the triennial Coming Back Together (CBT) reunion has far exceeded the expectations of Gwynne A. Wilcox ’74. She was one of a small group of alumni who helped plan the first reunion.

“When we started, the thought was we wanted to still connect with the University and the students—and that’s still the heart of what CBT is,” says Wilcox, a partner in the New York law firm Levy Ratner. “We have this expanding community of alums who all share this special bond. There are stories we can share and learn from each other.”

It’s also an opportunity to be mindful of those who have gone before them and those in the next generations to come.

“We definitely stand on the shoulders of people who fought for the opportunities so that we could be on college campuses,” says Wilcox, who will be awarded one of five Chancellor’s Citations during the CBT dinner gala Sept. 16. “We have the responsibility to continue to create opportunities for others because we are the beneficiaries.”

View the Q & A at SU News.

Sammy Cueva ’93 on SU’s First Latino Fraternity, His Businesses and Family, and Turkeys

Zhamyr “Sammy” Cueva ’93 is one of five individuals who will receive Chancellor’s Citations in recognition of their significant civic or career achievements at the Coming Back Together gala dinner Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown.

Cueva oversees the Fraud Detection Division  of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the largest transportation network in North America, covering 5,000 square miles in New York City, Long Island, southeastern New York state and Connecticut). He is also a highly successful entrepreneur with ownership stakes in three New York City restaurants (Blend LICBlend on the Waterand Blend Astoria), as well as the Soulatino marketing group and the branding and custom solutions company ColorWerx.

In the interview below he talks about his time at Syracuse, his life and his diverse business interests.

Read the full Q & A at SU News.

Q&A with CBT Chancellor’s Medal Winner Michael Blackshear

Michael Blackshear, who will receive a Chancellor’s Citation at this week’s Coming Back Together reunion, serves as the North America chief compliance officer for Chubb Insurance Co., the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. Blackshear periodically lectures at universities and industry trade associations on compliance and risk management topics and serves on several advisory boards. As a Syracuse student, he participated in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and on the University’s track and cross country teams. He and one of his fraternity brothers are spearheading the reinstatement of the Kappa Chapter-Omega Psi Phi endowed scholarship fund. Blackshear serves on the Management Department Advisory Board at the Whitman School of Management and is a 1991 graduate of the Whitman School. He is also serving this year as the Whitman School’s CBT chair.

View the Q & A at SU News.

Bring Your Sneakers to Chancellor’s CBT 5K Run, Walk and Roll Sept. 15

Runners and walkers are invited to take part in the Coming Back Together (CBT) reunion’s Chancellor’s 5K Run, Walk and Roll on Friday, Sept. 15. The event is a fundraiser for the Undergraduate Black/Hispanic Endowed Scholarship, which is part of the Our Time Has Come Scholarship Fund.

Alumni attending the triennial CBT reunion and all members of the campus community can join in the event, which starts at 7:30 a.m. on the Shaw Quad. Check-in and on-site registration begin at 6:30 a.m. next to the Orange Grove, outside Carnegie Library. Registration is $10 and $5 for students.

The first 250 registrants will receive a T-shirt. The event will also include post-race refreshments. There will be a clock at the finish, but the race is untimed. Strollers are welcome, but will be asked to line up at the back of the race start.

A representative of the Chancellor’s Office will attend. Syracuse University Senior Deputy Athletics Director and Olympic gold medalist Herman Frazier will also attend the event.

“All are welcome to join this invigorating morning event to connect with alumni who will be back on campus for CBT,” says Rachel Vassel, assistant vice president, Office of Program Development, which organizes CBT. “This is also a special way to give back to the University and help provide for future generations of students of color.”

CBT welcomes the University’s Black and Latino alumni to return to campus to engage with the University, current students and one another. CBT 2017 will be held Sept. 14-17.

The Chancellor’s CBT 5K Run, Walk and Roll is sponsored by Summit Federal Credit Union and Wegmans.

Limited parking is available in Quad 1 and Quad 4 Lots.

For more information, contact Mark Jackson, executive director of program development, at 315.443.7219 or mjacks09@syr.edu.

View the original post at SU News.