Five individuals who have distinguished themselves through their leadership and their contribution to UNC were honored during an awards dinner on Oct. 29 at the Chapel Hill Sheraton. The event, which was open to the public, was part of the 24th annual Black Alumni Reunion.
Julius Chambers, Karol Mason and Karen Parker each received the 2004 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award. Law professor Charles Daye was awarded the 2004 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award. Andrea Dawn McAfee received the 2004 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Student Award.
Chambers, of Charlotte, has a master’s degree in history and graduated first in his class in 1962 from the UNC School of Law. As the editor-in-chief of the North Carolina Law Review, Chambers was the first African American to hold this title at any historically white law school in the South. In 1964, he opened a practice in Charlotte that became the first integrated law firm and in North Carolina. In 1993, Chambers returned to his undergraduate alma mater, North Carolina Central University, to serve as its chancellor. During his eight-year tenure, NCCU launched a $50 million capital fund-raising campaign and established its first 10 endowed chairs. Chambers retired in 2001 and returned to his law practice. He has maintained close ties to Carolina and serves as director of the Center for Civil Rights.
Mason, of Atlanta, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UNC in 1979. In 1982, Mason graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was note editor for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. She became the first African American woman to become partner of the international Alston & Bird law firm and now works in the firm’s Atlanta office. As chair of the firm’s Public Finance Group she concentrates her practice in the area of government and project finance, including general obligation and revenue bond issues for counties, school districts, housing authorities and other governmental entities in Georgia and across the nation. Mason has maintained her connections with UNC where she now is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Parker, of Winston-Salem, transferred from what is now UNC-Greensboro to Carolina in 1963. When she graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she became the first African American woman to earn an undergraduate degree from Carolina. During her Carolina tenure, she edited the UNC Journalist and was tapped for the honorary society, the Order of the Valkyries. She made the Dean’s List her first semester and entered the Honors Program. She kept a journal of her time at Chapel Hill, which included as many good experiences as it did challenges. Parker’s journal inspired novelist Ellyn Bache to base a character in The Activist’s Daughter on her experiences. Parker has been a journalist in many cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, where she also has served as advance news editor of The Los Angeles Times. She now is a copy editor for The Winston Salem Journal.
Daye, of Durham, graduated magna cum laude from NCCU in 1966 and cum laude with a juris doctorate from Columbia University in 1969. He then headed to Washington, D.C., and became the first African American to serve as a law clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where he worked for the Honorable Harry Phillips. In 1972, he became the first African American to hold a tenure-track position on the law faculty at UNC. In 1981, Daye left Chapel Hill and became dean of the NCCU School of Law, where he served until 1985, when he rejoined the UNC School of Law. Daye is board chair of the North Carolina Fair Housing Center and the North Carolina Poverty Project. He continues to serve on the board of Triangle Housing Development Corporation, where he served for 16 years as president.
Andrea McAfee is a senior at UNC who serves on the Student Advisory Board for the Sonja Haynes Stone Center, the first vice president and service chair of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, chair of the Campus Y Advocates for the Empowerment of Women of Color, is active with the Black Student Movement and serves on the Minority Student Recruitment Committee.
McAfee was honored with a Pogue Scholarship at UNC, a Principal Leadership Scholarship and a McDonald’s Black History Makers of Tomorrow Scholarship. McAfee has actively pursued a career in broadcast journalism at UNC. She can be found both behind and in front of the camera for Carolina Week, the nationally-acclaimed student broadcasting station for which Andrea has worked since her freshman year. She has worked as an intern for WBTV and NBC6 news stations. She has lent her communication skills to the Carolina Annual Fund as a public relations representative and to World Team Sports as a financial coordinator and organizer for events like Face of America, a three-day cycling event to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes black alumni who have been instrumental in the support and development of the Black Alumni Reunion, as well as individuals who have been leaders in the University community or in their local communities. The Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Black Faculty Award recognizes faculty members who have shown leadership, dedication, innovation and advancement of academic excellence. The Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Senior Award is given to a UNC senior who excels in academics, leadership and as a volunteer and who helps strengthen bonds between Carolina students and alumni. The awards are named for UNC’s first African-American graduate, who earned his law degree at UNC in 1952. The alumni award’s namesake, Harvey E. Beech, was the first African American to earn a degree from the University. He was awarded a law degree in 1952.