On Sept. 28, as part of Alumni Weekend 2013, the GW Black Alumni Association (GWBAA) honored three black alumni and three current students at the annual GWBAA IMPACT Awards ceremony.
Given out since 2006, the IMPACT Award is the highest form of recognition bestowed upon distinguished black alumni by the GWBAA Executive Committee. Each year, the award is given the three black alumni who have cultivated a proven history of committment to GW, and who have also made indelible contributions to their local communities and society at large.
This year, the GWBAA also honored three GW students with the Emerging Impact Recognition. This award goes to students who embody the spirit of the IMPACT Award through their service to GW, the local community and to their peers. This year’s honorees were: Arielle Ford, CCAS ’14; Corey Gregory, GWSB ’14; and Asianna Joyce, CCAS ’14.
Recipients of the IMPACT Award come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds, including research studies and publications, leadership development, education, academic achievement, community service, and the arts. They provide positive examples to which current students can aspire, and remind fellow alumni that ensuring the continued vitality of GW is a shared responsibility.
Meet the 2013 BAA IMPACT Award Recipients:
Rear Admiral Fernandez L. Ponds, GWSB MS ’03
Decorated naval officer Rear Admiral Ponds is the current commander for expeditionary strike group three in the United States Navy. RADM Ponds recently completed his service as commander navy region Hawaii /commander naval surface group Middle Pacific, for which he served from November 2011 to July 2013. During his naval career, Ponds commanded Amphibious Squadron Eight from November 2007 to May 2009 as commander of Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group operating in four numbered fleet areas of operation in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, counter piracy operations, and operation Sea Angel II-Bangladesh humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR). He also served as mission commander for operation Continuing Promise 2008 and Haiti HA/DR operation 2008. Ponds holds a master of science degree in information systems technology from GW, a master of science degree in military studies from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a master of science degree in national security strategy from the National War College, National Defense University.
Dr. Pierre N. D. Vigilance, CCAS BA ’91
A leader in public health practice, research, and advocacy, Dr. Vigilance has more than 20 years of experience in public health leadership, programming, and administration. He became SPHHS’s associate dean for practice and an associate professor of global health in July 2013 after serving the school as the visiting professor for public health practice since 2011. Prior to his time at GW, Dr. Vigilance held several regional public health roles, including director of the District of Columbia Department of Health and director of the Baltimore County Department of Health. Dr. Vigilance received his bachelor of science degree, biology from GW in 1990, his doctor of medicine degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1996 and his masters in public health degree (health policy & management) from Johns Hopkins University in 1997.
Brian A. Williams, Esq., LAW JD ’02
Brian A. Williams is currently the economic development officer for the School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida (4th largest School District in the United States) and is responsible for managing the Office of Economic Opportunity for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS). In this capacity, he facilitates, promotes and ensures direction and leadership in the development and implementation of M-DCPS’ business growth strategy, and he is accountable for planning, directing, and overseeing the development of new business and strategic partnerships for small and minority/women business enterprises to participate in the award and performance of School Board contracts. Prior to this appointment, Williams served three years as the assistant school board attorney for the construction division of the School Board Attorney’s Office. Williams received his bachelor of business administration degree from Emory University and his law degree from GW.
Congratulations to the 2013 IMPACT Award and Emerging Impact Recognition recipients! For more photos from this event, visit us on Flickr.
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