CINCINNATI – January 3, 2018 – The University of Cincinnati African American Alumni Affiliate (4A) is pleased to announce the 2018 Class of Onyx & Ruby Award honorees. Five alumni, a faculty member, and a current undergraduate student will be honored February 24, 2018 at the Sharonville Convention Center. This year’s honorees include:

    • Honorable Michael B. Coleman, A&S ’77, former mayor of Columbus (OH)
    • Dr. Ryan Marable, Pharm ’13, pharmacist and public health advocate
    • Judge Fanon Rucker, Law ’96, Hamilton County Municipal Court judge
    • Dr. Vanessa Allen-Brown, Associate Professor in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
    • Annette Echikunowoke, A&S ’18, current Bearcats indoor Track and Field national champion
    • Dr. Monica Posey, CECH ’99, President of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
    • Bakari Booker, DAAP ’93, educator in Houston (TX) Public Schools

This is the fourth time that 4A has recognized alumni, students, and faculty or staff for exemplary service to the university and community at large. All seven individuals selected have an inspiring story attached to the person they are, and represent some of the best of UC’s almost 300,000 alumni.

"The legacy Black alumni are building is extraordinary, and I love we get an opportunity to highlight some of the people who have made a mark on the lives of others" said Yasmin Chilton, 4A chairperson. "We are living among true some monuments and not many people realize they descend from Bearcat lineage. I am happy this group of honorees is diverse in service and interests, and push the boundary for who we think of next to bring back to our table."

Onyx & Ruby Gala 2018 will be held at the Sharonville Convention Center on February 24, 2018, at 6 p.m. In addition to celebrating outstanding Bearcats, 4A will be raising money for our Shani Scholarship fund, an initiative to help support study abroad opportunities for students. For tickets and sponsorship information, please visit For questions and more information please contact Justin Gibson at or 513.556.4312.

Georgia E. Beasley Legacy Award

In honor of the late Georgia E. Beasley, this award recognizes the contributions of our alumni pre-1975 who have made sacrifices and shared their vision to enhance the quality of life at UC and in the community. Their legacy is timeless and one that set a standard of excellence that inspires us to keep our eyes on the prize, while pressing toward the mark.

colemanHonorable Michael B. Coleman, A&S '77

Mr. Coleman is a College Arts & Sciences graduate of 1977. He earned his juris doctorate from the University of Dayton and went into private practice in 1984. In 1992, he served on the Columbus City Council for seven years. In 1999, Coleman was elected Mayor of Columbus where he would serve for 16 years as the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. He is currently a partner and Director of Business and Government Strategies for Ice Miller LLP.

Emerging Leader Award

This award highlights our most recent alumni within the last 10 years, who are blazing the trails toward becoming our future leaders. The Emerging Leader Award recognizes the significant contributions of young alumni whose impeccable skills and talents have created opportunities toward building a better tomorrow for themselves and their community, and honors them for remembering to reach as they climb.

marableDr. Ryan Marable, Pharm '13

Dr. Ryan C. Marable is a pharmacist with The Kroger Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he currently serves as a Pharmacy Manager. He attended the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, graduating in 2013. Immediately following graduation, Dr. Marable committed his professional career to serving underrepresented community populations through service leadership. He currently serves on the national executive board of the National Pharmaceutical Association, and president of the Cincinnati Pharmaceutical Association. He also serves as Communications co-Chair for the Winkle College of Pharmacy Alumni Council. Dr. Marable is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Pillar of the Community Award

This award recognizes alumni who are avid supporters of their communities by sharing their time, talents, and treasure with individuals and organizations where they live, work, and play.

ruckerJudge Fanon Rucker, Law '96

Judge Fanon Rucker is a 1996 graduate from the College of Law. A native of Gary, Indiana, he earned his undergraduate degree from Hampton University. From 2000-07, Judge Rucker worked in the areas of civil rights, employment, municipal law and general civil litigation, as well as the prosecutor for three villages. He also represented clients in State and Federal court at both the trial and appellate levels. In 2007, Judge Rucker was appointed to the Hamilton Court Municipal Court, the youngest Ohio judge on the bench at 35 years old. Other leadership positions in the community includes, but are not limited to: the Association of Municipal and County Judges of Ohio, Seasongood Good Government Foundation, Black Lawyers’ Association of Cincinnati, Children’s Law Center, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and on the local and state level of the Prince Hall masonic organization.

Tower of Strength Award

As special recognition for faculty and staff, this award honors those individuals who play a valuable role in shaping the personal and professional development of alumni during their college years. Alumni credit these individuals for enhancing their educational experience and for being instrumental in helping them chart their path in life.

allen-brownDr. Vanessa Allen-Brown

Dr. Vanessa Allen-Brown is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, in the College of CECH at the University of Cincinnati. The James City, NC native received as BS in Biology and Pre-Med from Livingstone College, a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Missouri. Dr. Allen-Brown is an ordained clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at the United Methodist Church, having pastored churches in New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio. Her research interests are in oral history, religion/theology, and human rights; however, her passion is traveling abroad with UC students all over the globe. Students have accompanied her to many different countries including Tanzania, Botswana, Morocco, Ethiopia, France, and Ghana

Student Trailblazer Award

This award acknowledges individuals who created university firsts or were at the forefront of movements and activities. They embody all the qualities of a leader-motivational, charismatic, critical thinker, risk-taker, visionary, creative, change agent, and a community activist. These individuals are extremely involved on campus, are an inspiration to other students, and continue blazing the trail for change.

annetteAnnette Echikunowoke, A&S '18

Annette, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, will be graduating from Arts & Sciences in 2018 with a degree in mathematics. On March 11, 2017, she did what no other UC track & field athlete had ever done: she won the weight throw competition at the NCAA meet, claiming the program’s first national title and just the fifth individual national title in UC history across all sports. A three-time USTFCCCA All-American, Echikunwoke has spent the past two years rewriting the UC record books as she ranks among the program’s all-time Top 10 in five of the six throwing events, including holding the school record in three events: indoor weight throw, outdoor hammer and outdoor shot put. She also volunteers for The Gaskins Foundation, as well as leads the Habari Gani Ambassadors program at the AACRC and is a member of the Lambda Society.

Linda Bates Parker Legend Award

poseyDr. Monica Posey, CECH '99

Dr. Monica Posey graduated from the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services with her doctorate in education in 1999. She previously earned her bachelor and master degrees from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, Dr. Posey serves as President at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Her extensive list of community service includes serving on the boards of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Artswave, GRAD Cincinnati, Inc., the Greater Cincinnati Collegiate Connection, and the StrivePartnership Executive Committee. Most noteworthy, Linda Bates Parker herself nominated Dr. Posey for the YWCA Career Women of Achievement award in 2008.

Special Recognition – Honorary 4A Humanitarian Award

bookerBakari Booker, DAAP '93

Mr. Bakari Booker, graduated from the College of Design Architect Art and Planning, in the division of Health Planning and Administration in 1992. He obtained his Masters in Health Promotion in Education with a concentration of Community Health from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services in 1995. He later obtained a double masters from Miami University in Educational Psychology and Special Education in 2001. Currently, Mr. Booker serves as a Co-Facilitator at Madison High School in Houston. He volunteers with an extensive list of a wide range of community service organizations within the metropolitan area of Houston and he still holds office for several boards in the Cincinnati area as well.


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