130th Anniversary: Prominent Alumni

Since North Carolina A&T's first graduating class in 1899, it has sent more than 60,000 alumni into the world, where many have gone on to great success, making singificant contribution in government, STEM professions, sports, academia, business and more. Here are the stories of some of the most prominent Aggies. Scroll the page or use the bulleted list of anchor-linked date spans to navigate the list of alumni who graduated during those periods. 


~ 1891 – 1941 ~

Adam Watson (1870 – 1908) 

first-gradauating-class-of-at.pngOf the "Superior Seven" of 1899 -- the first graduating class of A&T -- the one who received the most acclaim at commencement was Adam Watson. His thesis was a working steam engine that was promoted as the first engine built by a person of color in North Carolina. Watson became head of the Department of Mechanics at A&T from 1902 until ill health forced him to resign in 1906. He designed the South Dormitory (later renamed Old Vanstory Hall), completed in 1907. That building, which stood where the parking lot next to the former Morrison Hall is today, is believed to have been the first structure on campus designed by an alumnus and person of color.

Frances Grimes Runner Bryant (~1884 – 1952) 

The first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from A&T was Frances Grimes, a schoolteacher from Asheville Township, Buncombe County, N.C., who received her degree in 1901. Grimes was a strong student and active alum, and history shows that she attended some of our earliest known aalumni reunions. She taught at schools in Asheville and Charlotte. Later in life, she married Charles L. Bryant, a 1900 graduate of the preparatory department.

Florence A. Garrett (~1860 – 1916)  

schoolteacher, prohibitionist and lecturer, Florence A. Garret was one of the last three women to graduate from A&T until women were readmitted in 1928, earning her degree in 1902. She was schoolteacher in Greensboro at the Percy Street Colored Graded School where fellow alumnus H.H. Falkener was principal. A member of the Thurman Women Christian TempeFrance Union, she was an outspoken opponent of alcohol consumption. In 1886, she delivered a speech to an audience of white female temperance workers, and was said to have been the first woman of color in North Carolina to address a white female audience.

Erkwood Logan (~1876 – ?) 

erkwood-logan-patent.pngDescribed as a student with "a special aptitude for invention," Erkwood Logan is the earliest known A&T student to file a patent. A 1901 graduate of the old preparatory department, Logan developed a biscuit-cutting machine in 1903 while still enrolled at A&T. It was patented as a "Cutting Machine For Plastic Materials" on Nov. 29, 1904, while he lived in Philadelphia. In 1911, Logan also filed a patent for a children’s toy.

Dr. Boisy Winslow Barnes (? – 1978) 

A graduate of the class of 1909, B.W. Barnes became a legend in the A&T community. As a student, he chauffeured A&T First Lady Susie B. Dudley and acted in her commencement plays. He was an instructor in bacteriologyy at A&T before becoming a dentist. A supporter of A&T, the Alumni Association, civil rights and health care, he was ultimately honored by having Barnes Hall on the A&T campus named for him.

Edward Richard Merrick (18881967) 

An outstanding Aggie in the field of civics and business was E.R. Merrick. After graduating from A&T in 1908, he began a long and prosperous career in the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, N.C. He began as an administrative assistant and worked his way up to vice-president/treasurer beginning in 1934. Merrick served in that role until his retirement in 1957.

He was also a trustee at A&T and one of the founders of the A&T College Alumni Scholarship Fund, for which he was also the first treasurer. Shortly after his death in 1967 at the age of 78, and as part of A&T’s 75th Anniversary, it was announced that the new mathematics and business school building would be called the Edward R. Merrick Hall.

Dr. Roscoe C. Ward (1893 1954) 

ward.jpgRoscoe Cassius Ward ('15) became a prominent figure in the African-American community of Port Chester, New York. He was regionally and national famous for his estate and work in the field of dentistry. A dedicated alumnus of A&T, he became the namesake for Ward Hall on the A&T campus, which today houses the University Police Department. It originally served as the home of the A&T dairy department.

Simon Alexander Haley (1892 – 1973)

Simon A. Haley, father of author Alex HaleyIn 1979, millions of TV viewers watched "Roots: The Next Generation," the sequel to the 1977 epic miniseries, “Roots.” Based on the genealogical research of author Alex Haley, the sequel featured actor Dorian Harewood portraying the author’s father, Simon A. Haley ('18). Simon Haley was of one several Aggies who saw combat in France during the first World War. He became a professor of agriculture in Arkansas, and the legacy of the Haley family is honored today with the Haley Hall dormitory on the A&T campus.

John Dudley Wray (1885-1937) 

A pioneering agriculturalist, John D. Wray ‘1909 was also North Carolina’s first African-American Farm Makers Club (now 4-H) agent, appointed in 1915. After graduating from A&T, he worked for two years at Tuskegee Institute under Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. He returned to the A&M College in 1912 and increased the crops and acreage of the old A&T Farm.

For his accomplishments, Wray was awarded an honorary master's degree in agriculture from A&T in 1913. From 1915 – '25, he served A&T and black farm families statewide as extension agent, professor of agriculture, columnist and one of if not the earliest known presidents of the National A&T Alumni Association.

Nora Foster Dowdy (1910 – '75) 

After A&T readmitted women to its bachelor’s degree programs, one of its outstanding students was Nora Foster. In 1931 she became the first female editor of the A&T Register campus newspaper. Foster helped to launch the A&T chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. She married Dr. Haywood Dowdy, a dentist, and served the community of Washington, N.C., as a longtime teacher and librarian.

Lonnie Pfunander Byarm, Sr. (1889– 1955)  

Lonnie P. Byarm Sr., ‘1911 was an outstanding athlete as a basketball player, serving as both captain and manager of the old A&T College football team during the 1910-11 season. After graduating, he became an instructor of mechanics and an athletics coach at A&T. He was one of five A&T faculty/staff who served in France during World War I in the Armed Expeditiary Forces (AEF). As an athletics coach, he led A&T into the Colored (Central) Intercollegiate Athletics Association and emerged with our first football championship in 1927.

He left A&T in 1930 to coach Johnson C. Smith University, but his legacy for transforming our football team remains. After his death in 1955, Byarm may have been the first Aggie veteran buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His son, L.P. Byarm Jr., was also an athletics director at A&T.

Charles W. Fairely (1919 – '92) 

Charles W. Fairley was born in Greensboro, graduated from James B. Dudley High School and earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education and Mathematics at N.C. A&T. He served in the U.S.. Army during World War II. After his military service, he began teaching in the Greensboro Public School system and started a string of “firsts” in the region.

He was the first African-American Greensboro citizen employed by the Boy Scouts of America as a scout executive. In 1945, he was the first African-American employed by Greensboro as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal System. In 1968, he was appointed executive director of the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County’s Redevelopment Commission. He was Fayetteville’s first African-American executive director and is reported to have been the second in that capacity in the Southeastern United States. In 1983, he received NAACP’s “Man of the Year Award,” and in 1985, its Martin Luther King Award.

Margaret Tynes (1919 -  ?) 

portrait-of-margaret-tynes.jpgInternationally renowned African American opera, concert and oratorio soprano and singing actress Margaret Tynes earned her bachelor's degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1941. She was also Miss A&T, 1939-40. Tynes continued her studies at Juilliard School in New York City and later earned a Masters in Music Education from Columbia University.

She performed in the United States, Canada and throughout Europe. Tynes appeared with leading opera companies of the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera and the Vienna Staatsoper. Her roles range from Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Carmen (Carmen), Aida (Aida) and Dido (Dido and Aeneas). She gained international acclaim for her role as Salome at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, ItalyShe became the first American to perform behind the Iron Curtain when she went to Russia with Ed Sullivan for the U.S. State Department. In 1957, Tynes was a guest at the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner where she was joined by Rose Morgan, Steve Allen, Jackie Robinson and Cab Calloway. The event honored Duke Ellington and Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who brought Jackie Robinson to the Major League.

The hon. Elreta Alexander-Ralston (1919 – '98) 

Judge Elreta Ralston

An academic prodigy who graduated high school at 15, Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston earned a B.S. in Music from A&T in 1937 at the age of 18. She taught high school for six years before being admitted to Columbia Law School in 1943 at the age of 24 – the first black woman to enroll in the iconic Ivy League institution and, two years later, the first to graduate. She passed the bar two years later, becoming the first Black woman to practice law in North Carolina. 

Within a few short years, she and three white partners formed the first integrated law practice in the nation. In 1968, she became North Carolina’s first elected black judge and the first Black woman to be elected a district court judge in America; she was subsequently re-elected three times. She ran for the Republican nomination for chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court in 1974, but lost in the primary. Today, the Judge Elreta Alexander-Ralston Courtroom in the Guilford County Courthouse — where her portrait hangs — bears her name.

Ellis Franklin Corbett (1910 – '71) 

corbett-sports-center.pngRemembered affectionately as “Mr. A&T, Corbett had a zeal and drive for promoting A&T that few have ever equaled. In his undergraduate years, Corbett took one class in journalism and was elected the first student editor-in-chief of the A&T Register. After 20 years as circulation manager for the Norfolk Journal and Guide, Corbett returned to A&T as a media relations director. He worked tirelessly to promote A&T in the regional and national press, and later would serve in university development. The Corbett Sports Center is named in his honor.


A group of Tuskegee Airmen pose in front of a P-40 aircraft in World War II.

Dr. Charles Herbert Flowers (1918-2011) 

A student at A&T from 1934-36, Flowers went on to become a pilot, one of the first Tuskegee Airmen and the first Black flight instructor at Tuskegee Air Force Base in World War II. Charles Herbert Flowers High School is named in his honor in Prince George’s County, Maryland. 

Lt. Samuel "Sam" Martin Bruce (1915 - 1944) 

Tuskegee Airman, Air Force lieutenant in 99th Fighter Squadron in World War II and all-star athlete are just a few of honors in the life of alumnus Sam Bruce, who enrolled in A&T in 1933. When the federal government created the Tuskegee Airmen program, he was one of the first volunteers to enter flight school.



~ 1942 – '71 ~

U.S. Representative Alma Adams (1946 – 

alma-adams.pngCongresswoman Adams (’69, ’72) earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Art Education at A&T before completing a Ph.D. at Ohio State. She served on the Greensboro City Council and School Board, as well as in the state House of Representatives, before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for a partial term in 2014 and for four successive full terms since.

Among her many accomplishment, Adams is the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, both among the largest caucus groups in Congress. She has been a strong, vocal and persistent advocate for HBCUs throughout her tenure in Washington.

Alvin Attles (1936 –  

al_attles_1970.jpgA native of New Jersey, Attles came south to A&T to earn his B.S. in Physical Education (‘60) and start his legendary basketball career. A fifth-round pick in the 1960 NBA draft, he went to the Philadelphia Warriors, playing alongside Wilt Chamberlain. When the team moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1962, becoming the Golden State Warriors, he went along, playing until 1971.

His defensive prowess earned him the title “the Destroyer.” In 1969-70, he became player-coach of the team – one of the NBA’s first Black coaches – and continued as head coach once his playing days ended, guiding the Warriors to the NBA championship in 1975. He coached for 14 seasons and served as general manager, becoming one of if not the first HBCU graduate to serve as a GM in professional U.S. sports. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and has been on the Warriors payroll for 58 years, the longest uninterrupted streak in pro sports by far.

Chief Justice Henry Frye (ret.) (1932 - 

Justice Henry FryeAfter graduating from A&T ('53) and serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, Frye returned home and sought to register to vote, only to find that he would have to pass a series of tests aimed at keeping him and others who looked like him from voting. That is when he decided to become a lawyer. In 1959, he became the first African American to complete a full law degree from the UNC Cchapel Hill 

He went on to accomplish many other historic firsts including becoming the first African American assistant U.S. District Attorney, the first African American to be elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in the 20th century, and first African American chief justice appointed to the N.C. Supreme Court. 


Mamie "Peanut" Johnson (1935-2017)

A South Carolina native who grew up in Washington, D.C., Mamie Johnson was a phenom on the baseball field, pitching and hitting every good as the boys -- perhaps even better. She tried out for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League -- the inspiration for the movie, "A League of Their Own" -- in the 1940s, but was turned down because of her race. But a scout later watching her play immediately signed her to the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues in 1953, and for three seasons, she more than held her own against such luminaries as Satchel Paige and Hank Bayliss, becoming one of only three women to play in the all Black league.

She amassed a pitching record of 33-8, thanks to an array of pitches including a knuckleball, a mean slider, a curveball that Paige helped her master and what has been described as a "deceptively hard" fastball. She also batted a respectable .262 to .284.

Following the 1955 season, she retired and enrolled at North Carolina A&T, where she earned a B.S. in Nursing before embarking on a 30-year career in health care. She was richly celebrated upon her death, and the Mamie "Peanut" Johnson Little League in Washington, D.C. is named in her honor. 

The Rev. Jesse Jackson (1941 – 


An icon in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, Jackson got his academic start at A&T, where he also served as student body president and quarterback of the football team, graduating in 1964 with a B.S. in sociology. He went on to attend Chicago Theological Seminary before being ordained as a minister. Heavily involved in civil rights activism, he was famously with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis when King was assassinated.

Jackson became the first major Black candidate to run for the U.S. presidency in 1984 and 1988, winning four Democratic primaries/caucuses in the first race and 11 in the second, along with 6.9 million votes. He served as “shadow senator” for Washington, D.C., from 1991-'97. He continues to serve as president of the social change organization Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which he founded in 1971.

Dr. Ronald E. McNair (1950 – '86) 

Dr. Ron McNairA towering intellect who refused to let the Jim Crow South hold him back, even as a child, McNair earned a B.S. in Engineering Physics, magna cum laude, in 1971. He went on to earn a Ph.D. at MIT while undertaking prominent research in laser physics. After a stint at the Hughes Research Lab in California, he was chosen for NASA’s astronaut program.

In his second space shuttle mission, he perished in the Challenger tragedy at the age of 35. In death, he has become a major figure across the country, with dozens of schools, labs, centers and programs named in his honor, most notable the U.S. Department of Education’s Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which has prepared thousands of minority candidates for Ph.D. programs.

Ethel Mae Carmack Benton (1925 – 2007) 

Ethel Mae Benton was a graduate of James B. Dudley High School and attended N.C. A&T. Prior to the Woolsworth sit-in demonstrations, she was arrested twice for sitting at a dining table in a “white only” restaurant in downtown Greensboro. It is reported that it was reading of her arrest that helped inspire the four A&T students David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair and Joseph McNeil to sit down at the segregated lunch counter.

Brig. Gen. Jimmy “Mac” McMillian  

Now working for the U.S. Dept. of Energy, McMillian ('81) served 31 years in the Air Force in multiple assignments including director of Security Forces, and deputy chief of staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support.

brig-gen-jimmy-mcmillan.pngHe was the focal point for ensuring physical security of nuclear assets and protecting resources from terrorism, sabotage and acts of war. He retired from the Air Force in 2012, having achieved the rank of Brigadier General.


Elvin Bethea (1946 -

The first Aggie to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bethea ‘68, played for 16 seasons with the Houston Oliers. As a standout defensive end at A&T, he was drafted to the Oilers in the third round 

During his career in Houston, Bethea played in 210 games, including a stretch of 135 consecutively. He played at defensive end and guard in the 1968 season and didn't miss a game until breaking his arm in a game against the Oakland Raiders in 1977. He led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105 unofficial sacks.

His career high was in 1973 with 16 sacks, which still ranks as the best in Oilers/Tennessee Titans history, a feat made more remarkable by the Oilers' 1-13 record.

Edolphus "Ed" Towns, Jr. (1934 –

A United States congressman for 30 years, Towns served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 2013. A Democrat from New York, Towns served on several caucuses including the Congressional Black Caucus, and was Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2009 to 2011. 


Known for serving the people of Brooklyn and focusing on the best for his constituents, Towns also sponsored and co-sponsored bills for ethical student-athlete practices, healthcare reform, and advocating for minorities.


The A&T Four: Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil & David Richmond

On the afternoon of Feb. 1, 1960, four N.C. A&T students walked from campus to the downtown Greensboro Woolworth, sat down at its whites-only lunch counter and asked to be served. That simple action touched off a wave of similar sit-ins throughout the south, grabbing the attention of the nation. The actions of Blair ('63), McCain ('64), McNeil ('63) and Richmond not only led to the desegregation of the Woolworth's lunch counter five months later, but to integration in other public accommodations across the United States. In many ways, their activism served as an emotional catalyst for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in public accommodations, as well as in education, employment and voting.

The example of A&T Four also spurred an explosion in student activism at historically black campuses nationwide. Just 2 1/2 months after their sit-ins began, Black college leaders gathered at Shaw University in Raleigh to form the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, over two days of meetings that included young people who would go on to hold positions of great leadership in the Civil Rights movement: John Lewis, Stokely Carmichael, Diane Nash, Julian Bond, Marion Barry and many more, including the A&T Four.

The legacy of the Four is celebrated each Feb. 1 at A&T with a major ceremony that concludes with a mass visit to the statue commemorating the legendary freshmen in front of historic Dudley Hall. The statue resides in a Historic District listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.   

Brig. Gen. Clara L. Adams-Ender (1939-

360px-brigadier_general_clara_l._adams-ender.jpgClara Leach Adams-Ender ('61) was the first woman to receive her master's degree in military arts and sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

She was Chief of the United States Army Nurse Corps from September 1987 to August 1991 and is also the first African-American nurse corps officer to graduate from the United States Army War College.

During her time at A&T, she participated in the Woolworth sit-ins to desegregate their whites-only lunch counter.

She is the recipient of the Army Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, of the Roy Wilkins Meritorious Services and of the Gertrude E. Rush Award for Leadership. In 2019, she was inducted into the U.S. Army Women's Hall of Fame.

Robert Herman “Stonewall” Jackson (1921 – 2010) 

Robert Stonewall” Jackson (‘50) was one of A&T’s most outstanding athletes and a history maker in African American Sports. After earning All-CIAA and All-American honors in 1946, 1948 and 1949, he became the first football player from an HBCU to be drafted into an NFL team, the New York Giants, in the first round of 1950.

After his playing career ended, he became a football coach, faculty memberr and trainer at North Carolina Central University, Shaw University and Texas Southern University.

Dr. Albert Westley Spruill (1926 - 2004)  

A professor, lecturer and dean of graduate studies at A&T for 23 years, Dr. Albert W. Spruill (‘49) was also one of A&T’s best historians. He was the author of "Great Recollections from Aggieland: A Human Interest Account of the Development of the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina from 1893-1960" (1964) and "The Historic Tour of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University" (1982). Spruill also shared A&T and community histories for 18 years as a columnist for the Carolina Peacemaker. His collections of Aggie histories and legends are still frequently used to this day.  



~ 1972 – 2001 ~

Janice Bryant Howroyd  

janice-bryant-howroyd.pngBorn in Tarboro, N.C., Janice Bryant earned a B.A. in English from North Carolina A&T before moving to Los Angeles to launch her storied career. After a two-year stint at Billboard magazine, she created her own company, The ACT•1 Group, an employment, workforce management and solutions firm. She grew her enterprise aggressiveely over the years, creating a series of companies operating under the ACT•1 umbrella and developing ACT•1 into the largest privately-held workforce management company founded in the USA. 

She married Bernard Howroyd in 1980; the couple enjoyed a 40-year union before Bernard’s death in 2020. Today, Howroyd is the CEO of a billion-dollar empire and has a personal net worth estimated at nearly $300 million, as well as 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees in 19 countries. She also has served on numerous boards, including the President’s Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board of Directors and the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Initiative Board. 

Harold L. Martin Sr. (1951 -

chancellor-harold-l.-martin.jpgMartin ‘73, ‘75, is the first alumnus to be elected chancellor of North Carolina A&T, a position he has held since 2009. Martin previously served the university as vice chancellor for the Division of Academic Affairs, dean of the College of Engineering and chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering. He also has held the positions of senior vice president for Academic Affairs of the UNC General Administration (now the UNC System) and chancellor of Winston-Salem State University.

As chancellor of N.C. A&T, Martin implemented a pair of strategic plans that have helped grow A&T to become the largest HBCU in the country -- a position it has held since 2014 -- and its top-rated HBCU, so designated by Money magazine in its 2020 Best Colleges edition. It is also recognized as a national leader in STEM education, particularly in the graduation of Black engineers, agricultural scientists, mathematicians and statisticians. Under his leadership, A&T has also risen to a new level of financial stability, now with an endowment of nearly $170 million.

The hon. Michael S. Regan (1976 -

michael-s-regan.pngA 1998 graduate of A&T with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science, Regan went to work immediately for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, remaining there for 10 years. An eight-year stint with the Environmental Defense Fund followed before Regan was named secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality in 2017. Regan was tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2020, where he is the first Black man to lead the agency. His position is a Cabinet-rank role.

Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten (1966 –

lynn-perry-wooten.pngA nationally recognized leader in organizational and development, Dr. Wooten in 2020 was named president of Simmons University in Boston, where she became the institution’s first Black leader. After earning a B.S. in Accounting at A&T and graduating as valedictorian in 1988, she received a MBA from Duke and a Ph.D. from Michigan. She served Cornell University for three years as the David J. Nolan Dean of the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management before moving into her current role at Simmons. She is also the author of two books on organizational development and crisis leadership.  

Willie A. Deese  

willie-deese-dedication-750.jpgWillie Deese grew up around education: He often accompanied his father to Davidson College, where he worked as a custodian. But it wasn’t until he got to North Carolina A&T as an undergraduate that he saw Black men and women teaching and leading a university, and that made all the difference.  

After earning his B.S. in Business Administration (‘77), Deese was off and running in the business world, starting at Digital Equipment Corporation where he had already interned as an undergraduate. He left in 1992 to become a vice president at SmithKline Beacham, and when the company merged with Glaxo Welcome, he got a promotion at the new organization’s Research Triangle Park headquarters. Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. lured him away in 2005 to lead its procurement and manufacturing operations, a precursor to him being named president of Global Manufacturing for the company.  

He retired in 2016, and has become the university’s most prolific and generous donor, providing support for the iconic Deese Clock Tower, the Deese Auditorium in Merritt Hall and cumulative donations that saw the university name the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics in his honor. He co-chaired the Campaign for North Carolina A&T that included those gifts and, just as importantly, leveraged personal and business connections in support of that fundraising effort.  

The hon. Ronald Penny (1953 – 

ronald-penny.pngIn 2017, Ronald Penny ‘75, was confirmed as Acting Secretary of the North Carolina Dept. Of Revenue. Penny was the first vice president for Human Resources for the University of North Carolina System, establishing policy for approximately 40,000 employees. Penny previously served as the director of the N.C. Office of State Personnel and in the executive cabinet of Governor James Hunt, establishing the North Carolina human resource system as one of the top 10 in the country.

Walter G. Hood (1958 -

walter-hood-750.jpgA native of Charlotte, Hood showed an interest in place and the built environment early on, earning  a B.S. in Architecture from North Carolina A&T in 1981. He earned masters' in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of California-Berkeley in 1989 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013.

He established the Hood Design Studio in Oakland in 1992, and began a series of projects around the country that earned him national acclaim for community-based work. His published writings (Urban Diaries and Blues and Jazz Landscape Improvisations among them) have further lent to his reputation for design of urban landscapes. He has exhibited and been commissioned to do work around the world, from Rome to Shanghai to Macon, Georgia, and many points in between.

In 2019, he was named a winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, more commonly known as "the Genius Grant." Today, he serves as chair of the Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture in addition to overseeing his own studio.

Davida Wagner Martin (1953 -

davida-wagner.pngA North Carolina native, Martin grew up in Lexington and Winston-Salem before enrolling in North Carolina A&T, from which she graduated with a degree in teacher education in 1975. She graduated from Wake Forest University law school in 1978 and practiced in the private sector including leading her own practice before joining the Forsyth County Attorney's Office in 1988 as an assistant county attorney.

She was named county attorney in 1998, becoming the first Black woman in the state to hold the position of county attorney, a role she held for 20 years before retiring in 2018. She is also a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors a North Carolina citizen can hold. The First Lady of A&T, she and Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. are the parents of two grown sons. 



~ 2002 – '21 ~

Tarik Cohen (1995 –

tarik-cohen.pngWhen Tarik Cohen landed a football scholarship at A&T, he jumped at the opportunity – it was the only university to make an offer. Four years later, the 5’6 running back had broken every nearly every offensive record at A&T and in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

A fourth-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 2017, he has continued to defy expectations in the NFL, racking up 4,289 rushing, passing and return yards and 15 touchdowns in a little more than three seasons before suffering a knee injury three games into the 2020 season. He is widely expected to return in 2021 and play a significant role for the Bears.


Brad Holmes (1979 –   

A star defensive tackle at A&T, from which he graduated cum laude (‘02) with a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication, Holmes parlayed a post-graduation internship with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks into an internship with the NFL’s St. Louis Rams in 2003. That turned into a front-office personnel position, launching an 18-year career with the team that included service as director of College Scouting.

In January 2021, he was named executive vice president and general manager of the Detroit Lions, becoming one of the first HBCU graduates to serve as a general manager in any of the major professional sports leagues.  

kevin-wilson-130.jpgKevin Wilson Jr. (19XX-

Playwright/director Kevin Wilson Jr. (’11) got his start in theater and film as an undergraduate at A&T, directing a sold-out student performance.

As a grad student at the famed New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Wilson wrote, produced and directed “My Nephew Emmett,” based on the infamous 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. The 19-minute short film won a Gold Medal in the 44th annual Student Academy Awards in 2017, and was nominated for an Oscar the following year in the Best Live Action Short category.


Brandon “Big Stuff” Parker (1995 – 

A fourth-year player with the Las Vegas Raiders, Brandon Parker (‘18) was a bona fide superstar as an A&T football player. At 6’8, 320 pounds, the offensive tackle was named Offensive Lineman of the Year for three consecutive seasons in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and first team FCS All American his senior year. He never surrendered a sack during his entire college career. In his third NFL season, he came into his own, with Head Coach Jon Gruden calling him “a big, big reason why we’ve been competitive on offense” and raising hopes for him for the 2021 season.

Darryl Johnson (1997

After being named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and being one of four finalists for the Black College Football Player of the Year, Johnson (‘19) was drafted and signed by the Buffalo Bills, where he has had an impact in his first two seasons, ranking second on the team in special teams tackles and seeing playing time at defensive end. After logging 25 tackles in his first two seasons, the 6’6, 253-pound defender – still just 23 years old – has a bright NFL future.


terrencejtmcf.jpgTerrence J (1982 – 

A 2004 graduate of A&T with a B.A. in Mass Communication, Terrence Jenkins started off his career in the diversity office of NASCAR in Daytona Beach, but his ambition quickly took him to BET, where he became co-host of the network’s long-running, top-rated hip-hop and R&B video program, “106 & Park” in 2006 after winning the network’s Best New Faces Contest earlier that year.

Since then, he has appeared in 11 films, multiple TV shows, including E! News, the MTV reality series “Are You The One?” and an ever-expanding list of additional big and small-screen projects. He is the author of “The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom” (HarperCollins) and the international ambassador for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. 


Dr. Nicole Pride (1965 -

Dr. Nicole PrideDr. Nicole Pride (‘18) was named the 12th president of West Virginia State in 2020. She formerly held a series of senior-level positions over 10 years at North Carolina A&T, including chief of staff, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for University Relations. Her awards and honors include the Triad Business Journal’s 2018 Outstanding Women in Business award and the PR News’ 2017 cohort of Top Women in Public Relations in the nation.

Shelby Christie (1990 - 

Shelby ChristieNamed to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, Christie (‘15), has made a name for herself in the fashion industry, working over the last decade with W Magazine and InStyle. She’s also used her background in costume history to engage with her Twitter followers, connecting fashion to historical events and discussing Blackness and culture. 

Kayla White (1997 -

Kayla WhiteA world-class sprinter, White (‘19), is training to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. While at A&T, White broke numerous university, conference and national records in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. In 2019, she became the first Aggie to become a NCAA champion in any sport when she won the 200 in the Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala. 

Sylvia Obell (1990 -

sylvia-obell.jpgAs an entertainment journalist with the BuzzFeed website, Obell ('12), has profiled stars such as Ava DuVernay, Gabrielle Union, Shonda Rhimes and Lizzo. She is the co-host of Okay, Now Listen, a podcast in collaboration with Netflix's Strong Black Lead.

Previously, she hosted Hella Opinions, an unapologetically black Twitter show she helped develop at BuzzFeed News and was a producer/correspondent for the news site’s flagship show AM to DM. In addition to being an alumna of A&T, she is a graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.