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Dr. Kevin D. Rome, Sr.
Ph.D in Higher Education Administration, 2001
Alumnus of the Year Award
On July 1, 2017, Dr. Kevin D. Rome, Sr. became the 16th President of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to beginning the presidency at Fisk, Rome served as the 19th President of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri from June 2013 to June 2017.
Dr. Kevin Rome has already had a tremendous impact at Fisk University. In his first year, the university not only doubled its incoming first year class, but also increased overall fundraising totals by 13 percent including a 3 percent increase in alumni giving participation. Moreover, in spring 2018, Dr. Rome and his wife made a pledge for $50,000.
While president at Lincoln University, the university witnessed a 50 percent increase in freshman enrollment in addition to the creation of new institutional programs and academic initiatives. Rome is credited with the increase in funding from state appropriations for land-grant status, increasing the state match from $500,000 to $2.5 million in 2017 as a result of continued advocacy. He also worked collaboratively with Jefferson City Parks and Recreation to erect a $13 million, 80,000 square foot wellness and multipurpose center on campus. On a personal note, the Dr. Kevin and Stefanie Rome Endowed Scholarship Fund was established at Lincoln University to assist deserving students in need.
With over 25 years in higher education, Rome has served in various capacities of university administration. He has served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at North Carolina Central University, Vice President for Student Services at Morehouse College, Vice President for Campus Life at Clayton State University, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Diversity at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.
Rome’s career began at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia as a Residence Hall Supervisor. From 1989 to 1991, he served as a Residence Director, Greek Advisor, and Financial Aid Counselor at the University of Georgia. In 1991, he joined the staff of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California as the Coordinator of Student Development. During his time at California Polytechnic State University, he received two promotions, serving as Academic Development Specialist and later as Education and Training Specialist. Additionally, Rome has served as Assistant Dean of Students in the area of New Student Services at the University of Texas at Austin. He was promoted to Assistant Dean of Students in the area of Campus and Community Involvement.
President Rome currently serves on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Educational Testing Service (HBCU-ETS) Steering Committee, is a member of the 2018-2019 Class of Leadership Nashville and is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville.
Previously, Dr. Rome served in a host of civic and social organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce, Capital Region Medical Center, and Central Bank. Rome formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), as Chair of the Council of 1890 Universities Executive Committee - APLU, Chair of the APLU Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE), and on the Advisory Council on HBCU Governance and Leadership for the Association of Governing Boards’ (AGB). He is a life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.
Rome earned the Bachelor of Art degree in English from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1989. He received the Master of Education in College Student Personnel with an emphasis in counseling from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, in 1991, and the Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas in 2001.
Dr. Kevin D. Rome, Sr. is married to Stefanie Rome. They have two children, Kevin Rome, Jr. and Kendel Rome.
Reverend Donald R. Parish, Jr.
BS Intercollegiate Kinesiology, 1999
Unsung Service Award
Reverend Donald R. Parish Jr. is motivated by a strong sense for social justice. Donald has worked tirelessly over the years to empower communities and help adolescents achieve their fullest potential in life. Donald is the type of leader who draws people in by displaying great character and showing his authentic self to everyone he meets. It is immediately clear to all who encounter him that he has never met a stranger - only a new friend. Due to his humility, transparency and self-awareness, he is able to quickly engender the trust of others, which develops into meaningful relationships. Most people readily support his good works and become excited by his boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm. Donald’s visionary leadership style sees beyond the challenges and troubles of today to focus on the brighter picture that tomorrow holds. He successfully inspires individuals to have a positive outlook that imagines new possibilities and rallies them to a shared vision. The following are just a few examples of Donald’s effective leadership and outstanding achievements that have benefited society as as well as The University of Texas that he hails from.
At the age of 17, Donald began his ministry by leading youth bible studies in the auditorium of Carter High School. Upon graduating from Carter High, Donald earned an academic scholarship to The University of Texas at Austin. As a student, Donald served as the President of Gamma Phi Delta Christian Fraternity and, at one point, led three simultaneous bible studies on campus. He was selected as one of the recipients for the “Most Outstanding African-American Males on Campus” award for four years in a row. He also acted as the last student director of the Multicultural Information Center and wrote the proposal to hire Mrs. Brenda Burt as the first full-time university employee to head the organization.
He is now the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at the historic True Lee Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. For 10 years, he served as the Program Director of the church’s non-profit called Hope Restoration. This organization serves residents in the South Dallas-Fair Park community and has provided an annual summer camp for hundreds of inner-city children. The camp serves as an educational and social lifeline to children in an economically disadvantaged area in Dallas. Hope Restoration was highlighted for its great service to the community in a 2016 segment by a local TV station.
Donald is the Co-Director of the YES program (Youth Expecting Success), a position he has held for the past 18 years. The YES program has a five-month curriculum (January - May of every year) and provides teens with a free SAT prep course along with life skills classes, etiquette lessons and drug/alcohol abuse prevention training to prepare them for the social and academic challenges to higher education. One unique aspect of YES is that it pays students to participate, which adds a further incentive for them to get involved and stay for the duration of the program. In April of 2018, Donald took a group of YES students on a field trip to Washington, DC where they visited college campuses and The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In addition, Donald previously served as a Case Worker for The Step Foundation, Youth Pastor for Central Dallas Ministries and Director for Cyberspot, a computer lab and after-school program.
Donald is committed to restoring hope in the lives of young people and helping them succeed, especially when they feel as if they lack the confidence, skills or support to do so. He brings a down-to-earth approach based on years of experience partnering with Dallas ISD schools and principals, organizing in public housing communities and coordinating with various neighborhood associations and recreational centers.
Donald believes that exposure is a key to unlocking a youth’s potential. Since the year 2000, he has personally hosted, organized and implemented college tours to provide hundreds of students from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with a firsthand experience of college. The tours initially started on a monthly basis and included around 15 participants. Donald has now completed dozens of trips and taken as many as 200 participants at a time; students have toured schools such as Prairie View A&M University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, The University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas. Regarding his alma mater, Donald has provided over 20 tours of UT’s campus. The students have had the opportunity to sit in on classes as well as visit places such as the Malcolm X Lounge, the Multicultural Engagement Center, the Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium and the Union Building.
Donald is the Site-Based Decision Making President at Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas, Texas. In December of 2017, he led the organizing for an event entitled “Breakfast with Dads” which was geared towards the male students enrolled at the school. Many of the boys lack an active father-figure in their lives; consequently, there was a concentrated effort to recruit 50 extra men from the community to attend the event and show their support. Donald turned to his personal network as well as social media to promote the opportunity and within days he received over 800 voicemails, calls and text messages. There were so many men signing-up to volunteer that it caused the volunteer website to crash due to the large volume of traffic. On the day of the event, nearly 600 men showed up and every student that participated connected with a mentor. The success of the breakfast went viral in the press (e.g., Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, NBC, CNN, USA Today, Fox and Friends) and, due to Donald’s leadership, he inspired people across the country to step up and start similar volunteer activities in their communities.
Donald’s new vision: “A Steady Hand” is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit being built to focus on critical areas facing inner-city youth: enhancing male development through effective mentor relationships, boosting fatherhood skills and improving educational exposure and preparation. One of the first projects is a mentoring initiative entitled “Men of CC” (Carter Cowboys) at Carter High School. He is recruiting over 300 male alumni of Carter High to support the development of the students.
In addition to his other responsibilities, Donald is a board member for the African American Museum of Dallas, Parkland Clinic at Hatcher Station, Tapestry Ministries and the Dallas Police Department (mental health and homelessness, pastoral advisory and community policing). He also works with The Dallas County Youth Village/Medlock Treatment Center (a residential placement facility in southern Dallas County for males ages 10 - 17).
He insoles the owner and host of The Sports Preacher Show where he uses sports as the impetus to have a larger conversation about all of the issues we face as a society. The chorus on his theme song says it all “ this is where the game goes deeper, he came to reach ya, The Sports Preacher”! Donald is opening his own studio and is excited to be back broadcasting Monday-Friday beginning this fall.You can follow him at www.thesportspreacher.com, @ipreachsports on Twitter and Instagram, The Sports Preacher on Facebook and YouTube.
One of Donald’s favorite scriptures is John 9:4 “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work”.
Shamiso Sabo Maswoswe
BJ Journalism, 2003
Young Alumnus Award
Shamiso Sabo Maswoswe is a former federal prosecutor who worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia where she protected victims of domestic violence.
Most recently Shamiso worked as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division – Public Integrity Section where she prosecuted public officials who sold their offices and abused their positions of public trust.
Prior to working as a federal prosecutor, Shamiso was a criminal defense attorney for ten years where she represented corporations and individuals in criminal litigation, in regulatory and internal investigations, and in related civil matters. Shamiso has represented clients in all phases of litigation, including pre-indictment, trial, and post-conviction proceedings, and in all phases of investigation, including field interviews, risk assessments, and negotiations with regulatory agencies.
While at Crowell & Moring LLP Shamiso was promoted to counsel as only a fifth year associate and twice earned nominations for her firm’s George Bailey Public Service Award due to her probono work defending immigrant children and human trafficking victims. Shamiso was also awarded the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding public service for her defense of a mentally disabled man in his bid to obtain social security benefits.
This year Shamiso started her own firm where she defends immigrant survivors and fights for the rights of those under attack by the criminal justice system.