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Cheyney University Delaware County Alumni Chapter Honors Two Alumni at 5th Annual MLK Awards Banquet

January 20, 2014

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Gregory Benjamin and Rosalind Jones-Johnson, both Cheyney University alumni, were honored January 19 at the Delaware County Alumni Chapter's 5th Annual MLK Awards Banquet.

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Before a sold out crowd gathered in Glenolden, PA for the 5th Annual Martin Luther King Awards Banquet, the Cheyney University Alumni - Delaware County Chapter honored two dedicated alumni who have devoted much of their lives to giving back to their alma mater.

Nearly 300 people came from all over the region to see Cheyney University Director of Alumni Relations Gregory Benjamin '81 and Rosalind Jones-Johnson receive very high honors for doing what they love -- making a difference in the lives of young people.

For the first time ever the Chapter gave The Spirit Award to a CU employee.  Benjamin has been the University's Alumni Director since 2009.  He represents the University at functions all around the northeastern region, rallies alumni to support the university and was key in leading the alumni to successfully raise $1 million in three years.  All that in addition to volunteering as a coach for the men's basketball team, serving as advisor for the Student Government Cooperative Association, Inc., acting as a liason to departments across the university, managing the Alumni Scholarship Fund, Chairing Homecoming, and mentoring countless students.  

Deborah Turner, Chairperson for the gala event, said now was the perfect time to show Benjamin all of the respect and admiration that the Cheyney family has for him, noting that "his diligence and conscientious effort has increased alumni giving and involvement."  Chapter member Gaynelle Turner Lewis said that “the chapter unanimously decided to select Greg because he does such an outstanding job and he goes above and beyond the call of duty.  "We chose a globe as his award because of the way he unites alumni around the world and for his commitment and devotion to CU and its alumni. In addition, he received a gift card and the CUNAA (Cheyney University National Alumni Association) Award."

“Five years ago I would never have imagined all of the learning, challenges, experiences, moments of joy and gladness, moments of sadness when alum transition (from this life) and the greatness that is the Cheyney Family," Benjamin said. "I’m thankful for those whose shoulders I stood on. I’m proud to be a part of such a rich legacy of men and women who came through the doors of Cheyney University and made major contributions to our cities and the nation—alumni about 30 thousand strong and growing—an unbelievable network. I’m humbled that I would be recognized with such a prestigious honor. Thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart."

Jones-Johnson is a professional educator who has served as president of the CU Alumni, Chapter of Delaware County for five years and was recently elected to CUNAA’s Board of Directors. She is currently the Education Director for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) after working for them for 19 years.  She's responsible for developing a partnership between CU and the PFT to design and deliver professional development to Philadelphia’s teachers. She is also an elected public official serving her 11th year on Delaware County's Yeadon Borough Council. She mentors Cheyney students and has even paid tuition out-of-pocket for students.  She received the Chapter's Community Service Appreciation Award for all of her hard work in the community, including serving as Head of the Yeadon Civic Association. 

She accepted on behalf of the entire chapter.  "While this award was given to me," she said, "I couldn't have accomplished anything without the other alums in the chapter, particularly Gaynelle Turner Lewis and Sandra Jones Baytops who founded the chapter," she explained.  "They really motivated me to get more involved. So many students deserve a quality education and to have the opportunity to go to an affordable institution.  I'm motivated to work so hard every day to make sure the university not only survives but thrives.  I am because it is. It developed my leadership skills, helped me understand the importance of giving back.  Everything I do is a labor of love."

Former Congressman Joe Sestak, State Rep. James Roebuck, and CUNAA President Junious Stanton received The Spirit Award in prior years.  Previous recipients of the Community Service Appreciation Award were Gaynelle Lewis, Sheree Monroe, Sharon Barnett, and Claudean Kemmer.

Before the evening's end, the Chapter presented a check for $1500 for scholarships, bringing their total amount raised for FY 2013-2014 to $5000.