African American Alumni Council Executive Board compelled to serve

African American Alumni Council Executive Board compelled to serve

D ebra White Minor, ’88, is president of the African American Alumni Council (AAAC). She’s also a registered nurse assisting the elderly and disabled population to live safely in their home or community as long as possible.

Minor enjoys staying connected with Georgia College. She’s accomplished quite a bit since serving as president since AAAC’s inception in 2019. 

“AAAC will need everyone’s help to accomplish these goals. We’d like alumni to participate in events, volunteer, encourage friends and family with children who will be entering college to consider Georgia College and donate to AAAC scholarships.”
– Debra Minor

“Simply put, I love to serve,” Minor said. 

Through her leadership, Minor led her team to create scholarship funds, engage support of African American alumni, increase the membership base, develop a signature event: “A Night Under the Stars Gala,” offer a healthcare initiative, alumni picnic and virtual Bingo.

Minor and the Executive Council have also set AAAC’s goals for 2022. These include developing a strategic plan to create new scholarships while maintaining the integrity of existing scholarships, increasing alumni engagement, participating in the Office of Recruitment and Admissions outreach efforts and engaging more with different departments and student organizations, such as the Black Student Alliance, the Cultural Center and more.

“Our 2022 goals lead us to the fulfillment of the AAAC’s mission,” Minor said, “which is to foster pride and support among alumni and promote sustainable growth in the recruitment, retention and advancement of African American students.”

 Minor delivers a call to action for GC alumni to collaborate towards achieving these milestones.

“AAAC will need everyone’s help to accomplish these goals,” she said. “We’d like alumni to participate in events, volunteer, encourage friends and family with children who will be entering college to consider Georgia College and donate to AAAC scholarships.” 

(Left to right) Debra minor, president, AAAC and Dr. Kwanza Gardner, vice president, AAAC
(Left to right) Debra minor, president, AAAC and Dr. Kwanza Gardner, vice president, AAAC

Dr. Kwanza Oliver Gardner, ’97, ’99, is vice president of AAAC. She’s also the program director for a child placement agency in Savannah—the only African American, female-owned child placement agency in the Southeast.

Gardner believes she’ll enjoy learning how to support Georgia College in its efforts to increase the African American presence on campus.  

“Georgia College is my foundation. The education I received—a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration—has enabled me to lead a successful and prosperous career. I truly believe if more African American students were exposed to older, professionals who matriculated through Georgia College, they might be compelled to attend.”
– Dr. Kwanza Gardner

“I am willing to partner closely with our president and aid her endeavor to meet and exceed the goals for 2022,” she said.

Gardner is a firm believer that to know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from. She hopes to mentor African American high school students.

“Georgia College is my foundation,” she said. “The education I received—a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration—has enabled me to lead a successful and prosperous career. I truly believe if more African American students were exposed to older, professionals who matriculated through Georgia College, they might be compelled to attend.” 

(Left to right) Felicia Cummings, secretary, AAAC; Jemeria Cummings, co-event coordinator, AAAC and Timberly Spikes, co-event coordinator, AAAC
(Left to right) Felicia Cummings, secretary, AAAC; Jemeria Cummings, co-event coordinator, AAAC and Timberly Spikes, co-event coordinator, AAAC

Felicia Cummings,’02, is secretary of AAAC. She runs her own public relations company—Cummings League Marketing & Design Firm.

Cummings looks forward to giving back to a university that provided the foundation for her achievements and helped shape her into the community-oriented and goal-setting professional she is today. 

“Since Georgia College notified me that I was the recipient of the inaugural 'Humanitarian of the Year Award' for the College of Arts and Sciences, I realized my alma mater saw the work I did for my community and felt I was a great representative of what a Georgia College graduate can accomplish. I want to be a part of a college organization that encourages other young African American students to do more for their community, and the AAAC felt like a perfect fit for me.”
– Felicia Cummings

“Since Georgia College notified me that I was the recipient of the inaugural 'Humanitarian of the Year Award' for the College of Arts and Sciences, I realized my alma mater saw the work I did for my community and felt I was a great representative of what a Georgia College graduate can accomplish,” Cummings said. “I want to be a part of a college organization that encourages other young African American students to do more for their community, and the AAAC felt like a perfect fit for me.” 

Her main objective will be to help AAAC achieve its goals by using her public relations skills to spread the word in the community about the organization. Cummings will encourage others to join through promotional videos, social media and other creative marketing tools. 

She feels that Georgia College offers a wide array of educational programs to automatically bring in a diverse student population.

“You are introduced to other cultures just by being a part of the Georgia College community,” Cummings said. “It's that camaraderie aspect of the educational institution that hooked me from day one and still exists for me today. You are not just a number or a statistic at Georgia College; you are a member of a large family. It only seems right to give back to the university that gave so much to me.”

Timberly Spikes, ’21, co-event coordinator of AAAC, is in the Leadership Development Program at GEICO Insurance Company. She also works as a general assignment writer for The Baldwin Bulletin. Once Spikes obtains her master’s degree, she plans to work in the media industry. 

“We want to create more events to allow everyone to safely reconnect with their fellow alumni. We hope to help AAAC meet its 2022 goals by organizing successful get togethers as a way to honor the legacy of those who paved the way for us.”
– Timberly Spikes

She looks forward to using her creativity to bring alumni closer together through AAAC events. 

“We want to create more events to allow everyone to safely reconnect with their fellow alumni,” Spikes said. “We hope to help AAAC meet its 2022 goals by organizing successful get togethers as a way to honor the legacy of those who paved the way for us.”

Spikes is grateful for her Georgia College experience. The university is close to home for her, so she loved having the option of staying connected to her family while earning her degree. 

“When I came back to Georgia College as an alumna, I wanted to work to ensure I left the campus being a more inclusive place than when I started,” Spikes said. “Georgia College is important to me, because it’s in my hometown and makes a tremendous impact on my community.”

Jemeria Smith Cummings, ’18, co-event coordinator of AAAC, is the owner and CEO of Building Readers First LLC—a tutoring company in Milledgeville, Georgia. She is also a children’s book author.

Cummings has served as co-event coordinator for nearly a year.

“I would like to continue creating events to bring AAAC together with the community,” she said. “I also want to create positive partnerships with other affinity groups on campus.” 

“It’s important to host AAAC events to bring light to the sacrifices and accomplishments for those who have passed through Georgia College and students. I want to bridge the gap for future generations.”
– Jemeria Cummings

Cummings’ is tasked with bringing awareness to the educational needs of African American students and individuals who are of other diverse backgrounds. She also knows the value of scholarships.

“I like that Georgia College allows for students of different socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic groups to gain scholarships that will help them to achieve higher education,” Cummings said.

She feels it’s imperative that AAAC hosts events to honor diverse generations.

“It’s important to host AAAC events to bring light to the sacrifices and accomplishments for those who have passed through Georgia College and students,” Cummings said. “I want to bridge the gap for future generations.”

Learn how you can contribute to the AAAC Giving Project “The Promises We Keep,” offering scholarships to African American students. Visit: https://crowdthunder.gcsu.edu/project/30071.