HT’s Scholarship Gala Showcases Students
Sunday Jun, 01 2014
(AUSTIN, Texas) — For more than 60 minutes, Grammy-Award nominee, rhythm and blues, and neo-soul performer Raheem DeVaughn headlined Huston-Tillotson University’s Eleventh Annual President’s Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams (MASKED) Gala. The black-tie affair was held Saturday, March 1, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs Road, at 6 p.m. Long-term Texas Senator Royce West is serving as the Honorary Chair of the scholarship gala in support of education and Huston-Tillotson University.
DeVaughn’s latest release “A Place Called Loveland,” on his own label, summarizes his creativity expression and inner reflection of his style. Popular hits such as “You, “Guess Who Loves You More,” and his biggest hit “Women,” that was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category propelled his career. His 2010 the “Love and War MasterPeace” album was also nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Album of the Year. He brings his piano and guitar talents to the Gala in addition to this vocal and performance talents.
DeVaughn joins a long list of Grammy nominated artists such as Regina Bella, Najee, Will Downing, and Johnny Gill who have performed up close and personal at HT’s signature event. The musical entertainment for the evening also features HT former graduates who now comprise the group SoulKitchan, back by popular demand. SoulKitchan’s musical selections take listeners down memory lane with their selection of hits from the 1970s to the 1990s. As students, the SoulKitchan musicians launched the comeback of the HT jazz ensemble. Now the HT Jazz Elite, under the direction of Dr. Javier Stuppard, will also perform. The Parade of Masks competition and silent auction are also featured.
Pioneer and long-standing beloved Austin citizen Dr. W. Charles Akins received the University’s Tower of Light Award. A 1954 graduate of Huston-Tillotson, Akins was raised in segregated Austin as the son of sharecroppers. He was the first African American teacher at Austin’s desegregated Johnston High School, served as assistant principal at his alma mater old Anderson High School, and was the first principal of West Austin’s new L.C. Anderson High School. Akins broke many color barriers during his distinguished career as an educator, mentor, and coach before retiring at age 80. Akins High School is named in his honor. Other Tower of Light Award recipients are: Philip and Donna Berber, A Glimmer of Hope Foundation; The Honorable Ronnie McDonald; and Brian Peierls, Peierls Foundation.