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NSU Inducts 32 into Emerald Society

On Friday, December 9, 2022, for the first time since the pandemic, NSU inducted 32 individuals into the prestigious Emerald Society. The inductees were recognized for their financial and personal commitment to Norfolk State University and their leadership in the greater community.

The Emerald Society recognizes individuals whose lifetime giving to Norfolk State University is $50,000-$99,999. The members are honored with an elegant lapel pin with a green emerald. Upon reaching this milestone, new members of this society are inducted every 1-2 years on average.

“I can say with great confidence that the fundraising success that we have seen is in great part attributed to the financial support that this class (of the Emerald Society) has provided,” said Clifford Porter, vice president for University Advancement. He was the first of many to say “thank you” for continuing to be the foundation upon which NSU can build and grow.

NSU President Javaune Adams-Gaston formally welcomed the honorees, former inductees, and guests at Friday evening’s event.

“I am so pleased to be in the presence of so many of Norfolk State University’s most loyal supporters and advocates,” Dr. Adams-Gaston said. “I want to personally thank each of you for your continued support of the University. Your continued investment is essential, and our education is enabling and empowering the future leaders of our communities. On behalf of the Norfolk State University family, I want to thank you. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for investing in us. And thank you for supporting us.”

NSU President Javaune Adams-Gaston shook hands with each recipient, pinned each honoree with the official Emerald Society lapel pin, and presented them with a crystal vase etched with their name, induction date, and congratulatory words of expression.

Honorees who attended:

  • Mrs. Parisiene T. Clark accepted the award for her and her spouse, Mr. Russell A. Clark, Jr.
  • Lajuana M. Collins, MD
  • Mrs. Blanche Neal Duggins
  • Mr. Ernest M. Ellis, Jr. 
  • Deborah C. Fontaine, Ph.D.
  • LTC (Ret.) James R. Harris, Jr. accepted the award for him and his wife, Mrs. Angelita Harris
  • Dr. Grady H. James
  • Mr. Clevester Jones and Mrs. Dameron L. Jones
  • Tamara A. Jones, MD
  • Ms. Lorie A. McCowan
  • Mr. Delbert Parks
  • Mr. Mervin Pitchford and Mrs. Sandra Pitchford
  • Mr. Robert Maurice Randall
  • Mr. Chester L. Steward, Sr., and Mrs. Frances Steward
  • Mr. Bobby Norris Vassar

Due to scheduling conflicts, some honorees could not attend the Friday evening event but sent their regards. The university was still honored to recognize their commitment and will ensure they receive their awards.

Those honorees are:

  • Dr. Morry D. Brown, Sr. from the Class of 1991 and his wife Amy Brown
  • The Honorable Jerome James, from the Class of 1967
  • Ms. Crystal C. Lassiter, from the Class of 1992
  • Mr. Challis and Mrs. Mary Purrington from the Classes of 1974 and 1975 respectively
  •  Mr. Archie W. Robinson from the Class of 1970
  • NSU Friends and business executives Jon and Kathy Yarbrough
  • Dr. Michael M. Shackleford, former NSU Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, and his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Shackleford

In 2015, Norfolk State University inducted 20 individuals into the inaugural class of the Emerald Society; in 2017, NSU inducted seven individuals and one foundation; and in 2018, sixteen individuals were inducted.

Picture of inductees with President Adams-Gaston. Names in caption.

First Row (sitting down left to right): Sandra Pitchford; Frances Steward; Deborah C. Fontaine, Ph.D.; Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston; Parisiene T. Clark; Blanche Neal Duggins; Lorie A. McCowan. Second Row (standing left to right): Ernest M. Ellis, Clevester Jones, Chester Steward, Dameron Jones, Lajuana Collins, MD; Tamara A. Jones, MD; Curtis Hurdle (red tie), Grady James, Ph.D.; James R. Harris. Third Row (standing left to right): Bobby Norris Vassar, Delbert Parks, Robert M. Randall, Mervin Pitchford.