Celebrating African American Alumni Achievement

On Friday February 26th 2016 the Association of Black Business Students (ABBS) welcomed over 130 guests to Anthony’s Forum for the 14th Annual Celebration of African American Alumni Achievement. This event was founded by Dr. Thaddeus Spratlen (Professor Emeritus of Marketing) as a way to reconnect African American Alumni and current students. Also a fundraiser, the celebration raised more than $8,000 towards the ABBS Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Current ABBS president Abiel Zewolday served as the MC and kicked off the evening with welcome remarks. Dean Jiambalvo also shared Foster-wide diversity updates. In line with the night’s theme of Honoring Giants: The Shoulders Which we Stand, the ABBS officers decided to create the Spratlen Legacy award, in honor of Dr. Spratlen for blazing the way for African Americans at the Foster School. Dr. Connie Kravas, Vice President for University Advancement and Diane Martin, former ABBS advisor, spoke about his generosity and advocacy for his students. After Idowu Jeremiah, Vice President of ABBS Operations, sang a combination of Amazing Grace and the Black National Anthem, Foster Professor and Dean Emeritus Dr. William Bradford presented the first ever Spratlen Legacy award to none other than Dr. Spratlen. Going forward, the award will be given to an alumni, student, or community member making an impact on the African American community.

Abiel Zewolday also gave updates on ABBS and shared the many companies who have recruited with the association. Gosay Mohammed, a Foster junior, shared his appreciation for the ABBS community when he transferred to the UW from South Seattle Community College. Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Vice President Controller at Salal Credit Union and Foster Alumni, shared words of wisdom in being your whole self in the workplace. Afterward, Monique Smith, Vice President for ABBS Alumni Relations, introduced this year’s ABBS Endowed Scholarship recipient Bahari Watkins, a current Foster sophomore focusing in accounting and information systems.  Paolo Eleccion ABBS VP of Communications and Daizha Brown ABBS VP of Information Systems closed out the evening with a raffle an original piece of artwork from South Africa.

A soul food dinner was catered by the incredible DayoSense ( a UW alum) and her team. Company sponsors included Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Moss Adams, Nordstrom and PwC. Campus sponsors included the ASUW Black Student Commission, UW Ethnic Cultural Center, Foster Consulting Business and Development Center and Foster Undergraduate Diversity Services. More event photos can be found on the ABBS Facebook page.

As an organization ABBS also celebrated their 46th anniversary!


Inaugural Spratlen Legacy Award was given to Dr. Thaddeus Spratlen, going forward this award will be given to an alumni, student or community member making an impact on the African American community


Dr. Spratlen accepting the Legacy Award


Current ABBS President Abiel Zewolday congratulating Dr. Spratlen

ABBS & Foster Alumni Gather for the Annual Photo

ABBS & Foster Alumni Gather for the Annual Photo


Dr. Connie Kravas (Vice President for University Advancement) congratulting Dr. Thaddeus Spratlen


Soul Food catered dinner provided by DayoSense


Idowu Jeremiah ABBS Vice President of Operations singing Amazing Grace and the Black National Anthem


Jai-Anana Elliot Director of HR at Seattle City Light (Former ABBS Advisor & Associate Director) speaks with Michael Verchot, Founding Director of the Consulting and Business Development Center

This post was written by YEOC Program Manager Korrie Miller, M.Ed

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