Allen University to honor Columbia ‘Sons’ and ‘Daughters’

USC President Harris Pastides, Arts Activist Karen Alexander and Alumni Robert and Percalee Morris to Receive Recognition

(Columbia, S.C.) – Allen University will host its annual signature fundraiser at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at the SC State Museum, 301 Gervais Street. The 2019 UNCF “A Mind Is…” Scholarship Gala will feature the Richard Allen Awards, which recognizes individuals and organizations whose contributions have made a significant impact to the Christian liberal arts university or to the greater Columbia region.

This year’s award recipients embody the legacy of founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church the Right Reverend Richard Allen for whom the university is named. Through their work, the honorees have either stood for justice, pursued excellence or sought opportunities for a better future - all to serve the greater good.

The 2019 Richard Allen Award recipients include:

Dr. Harris Pastides, who will be recognized for championing diversity and inclusion in South Carolina in his role as president of the University of South Carolina.

Karen Alexander, founder of the Auntie Karen Foundation, will receive recognition for her commitment to empower and inspire youth around the world through arts education.

Dr. Robert and Mrs. Percalee Morris, ’70, ’69, both retired educators, will be honored for their steady resolve to support the mission of Allen University and for their shared passion to enhance the lives of others through civic engagement.

Gala attendees will enjoy live entertainment provided by viral sensation vocalist Kristen Jamison, who was one of the top 20 finalists for the seventh season of BET’s “Sunday Best.” Roland Haynes Jr. and Friends, a band which consists of world class vocalist and musicians, will also perform music ranging from Pop, Jazz, R&B and Afro-Cuban.

Duo Tre’ Tailor, an award-winning radio and television personality whose voice is currently heard on Glory Communications, and Wally Amos, known as the founder of the Famous Amos cookie brand, will serve as the evening’s mistress and master of ceremony.

As the premier fundraiser for the university, funds from the gala help Allen provide much needed scholarship dollars to students, of whom over 90 percent require federal aid to attend college. Contributions also assist the university in delivering educational programs and making positive contributions to the community.

In its 14th year, the gala is among many events held throughout the country by member UNCF institutions; Allen is one of 37. Since its founding in 1944, the UNCF has been committed to helping underrepresented students gain their degree.


Allen University is a Christian liberal arts institution located in the capital city of Columbia, South Carolina. The oldest historically black college in the state, Allen provides an environment of academic excellence to heighten students’ chances of succeeding in a culturally diverse and economically global world. Allen maintains accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and holds membership with the United Negro College Fund.

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