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President Earvin to Receive the James H. Costen Award



Top row l-r: Dr. Teresa Hairston, Dr. Larry L. Earvin, Mr. John Deushane, Mr. Eddie Meyers, Honorable. Betty Thompson. Bottom row l-r: Mrs. Monica Kaufman Pearson, Dr. Betty Clark, Ms. Lisa Williams, Mr. BeBe Winans, and Mr. Wellington Swindall (posthumously). (Not Pictured – Mrs. Elizabeth Littlejohn).

By Karla Simpson-Brown


Atlanta, GA – (March 18, 2013) The annual observance of the founding of the ecumenical consortium of six different seminaries chartered as The  Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in 1958, 55 years ago, will continue that tradition on Thursday, April 18, 2013. During the Charter Day and James H. Costen Awards Gala at 7:00 p.m., at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, eleven persons whose professional contributions to the local and national community have been found worthy of the annual “Tribute to Excellence”, and will be honored.

The 2013 honorees in their respective categories are: Religion, Dr. Teresa Hairston, Founder and Publisher of Gospel Today Magazine, as well as Founder and Chair of the Gospel Heritage Foundation; Education, Dr. Larry Earvin, President of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas; 2 Business Award Recipients – Mr. John Deushane, President and General Manager of WXIA/WATL Atlanta, Georgia, and Mr. Eddie Meyers, Regional President, PNC Bank Atlanta; Government, the Honorable Betty Thompson, Representative of District 72 of the St. Louis District in the Missouri House of Representatives; Civic and Community Affairs Award, Mrs. Monica Kaufman Pearson, Retired News Anchor and Journalist, WSB-TV; Inspiration Award, Dr. Betty Clark, Retired Principal, Atlanta Public Schools; Lifetime Service Award, Mrs. Elizabeth Littlejohn, former Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services at ITC; the Travelin’ Shoes Award, Ms. Lisa Williams, Founder of Living Water for Girls; the Arts and Entertainment Award, Mr. Benjamin “BeBe”: Winans, Grammy Award winning Inspirational, R&B, and Gospel Artist; and the Visionary Award, Mr. Wellington Swindall (posthumously).

The original Charter Day Dinner, held in the early years on the ITC campus, paid homage to the founders of the seminary and celebrated the creation of an ecumenical theological framework for training African American clergy that had been attempted, but never achieved until 1958 when Dr. Harry V. Richardson fostered partnerships among four struggling religion departments at four historically Black colleges, to create the consortium. The awards ceremony was added to the Founders’ Day observance 16 years ago, when then President Robert Franklin established the ITC Associates as a volunteer group to support the advancement office in its fundraising efforts and expanded the celebration to pay tribute to Dr. James H. Costen for his excellent leadership of the ITC and in the Church worldwide. Every year since, the committee, using Dr. Costen as the barometer for excellence to which others aspire, has selected persons to receive the Costen Award. Recipients now total close to 100 women and men, clergy, educators, entrepreneurs, civic and community servants, contributors to the arts and entertainment industry, and most recently contributors to the environment and to the spiritual uplift of humankind.

The Charter Day Planning Committee, ably chaired by Mr. George Andrews, President of Capital City Bank and Trust has garnered the support of alumni, students, and friends of ITC to again gather and celebrate ITC’s history and legacy of excellence in the Church on April 18, 2013. The committee invites the community to participate as well.

For more information about the 55th Charter Day and 16th James H. Costen Awards Gala, go to or call 404.527.7718.