By: Voorhees University
Voorhees University is proud to announce that three distinguished individuals from its community have been selected for induction into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. The fall class of 2023, set to be honored during the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Weekend from September 29 to October 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, includes Dr. Cleveland Sellers, Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason, and James Bowden.
Dr. Sellers is being recognized in the civil rights category. His recognition stems from his significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. A renowned educator and civil rights activist, he attended Voorhees High School (now Voorhees University) during his early years and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Shaw University in North Carolina. Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Sellers played a prominent role in leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Notably, he was the sole individual convicted and incarcerated in connection with the Orangeburg Massacre, a tragic 1968 civil rights protest in which three students lost their lives due to state trooper actions. Returning to his hometown, Dr. Sellers served as the eighth president of Voorhees University from 2008 to 2015.
Dr. Mason, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, is being honored for his exceptional lifelong contributions to both his community and profession. Originally from Atlanta, he currently holds positions as the dean of the Library and Museum, as well as an assistant professor of African-American history and religions at Voorhees University. His induction is conducted on behalf of his undergraduate alma mater, Morris Brown College. Under Dr. Mason’s guidance, Voorhees University established a museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the institution’s rich history.
Another Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is James Bowden, a former senior vice president at Duke Energy. A graduate of Denmark Technical College, Bowden is currently a student at Voorhees University. His induction recognizes his accomplishments on behalf of Duke Energy, where he became the first African-American vice president. In this role, he supervised field operations and maintenance, leading a team of over 300 employees.
Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, President of Voorhees University, expressed his pride in the achievements of these three individuals: “We are proud to have three Voorhees affiliates join the prestigious National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. Each inductee has made significant contributions to his respective area of expertise, and we congratulate them on receiving this honor.”
Quentin Roach, Chairman of the NBCA Hall of Fame Foundation, highlighted the remarkable accomplishments of HBCU graduates: “We’re honored to assemble a powerful and impactful roster of leaders that are working across diverse professions to better the world and to highlight the contributions of these exceptional graduates. HBCU institutions continue to nurture, educate, and develop men and women to ascend to new heights of achievement, and we endeavor to spotlight their successes with each class of inductees.”
The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame annually selects HBCU graduates for induction, showcasing their outstanding achievements in various fields. Since 1986, the Foundation has celebrated more than 300 inductees across categories such as Arts/Entertainment, Athletics, Business/Industry, Community Service, Education, Faith/Theology, Government/Law, Medicine, Science, and Lifetime Achievement.
Voorhees University, founded by Elizabeth Evelyn Wright in 1897, is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church and the United Negro College Fund. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Its mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and an abiding faith in God. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Voorhees as a #1 best value, #3 in social mobility, #33 among regional colleges in the south in 2022-2023; and #26 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, nationally. Additional information about Voorhees University can be found at www.voorhees.edu.