The University of Pittsburgh K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program is always an outstanding celebration of living history. The 2014 program held on Feb. 24, on the seventh floor of Alumni Hall on the University of Pittsburgh campus did not disappoint. This year the Black History Month celebration named after K. Leroy Irvis, The Lion of Pennsylvania, the first African-American Speaker of the House, a sculptor and poet, was a celebration of the arts. The program recognized the achievements of Nathan Davis, professor emeritus, Department of Music; Toi Derricotte, professor emerita, Department of English; and Vernell A. Lillie, associate professor emerita, Department of Africana Studies.
Clyde Jones, vice chancellor for Health Sciences Development served as the master of ceremonies while University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg welcomed the large audience and commented on the richness that each honoree had added to the University of Pittsburgh. A beautiful tribute was selected for each honoree. The Shona Sharif African Dance and Drum Ensemble; Terrance Hayes, poet and English Department professor; and Geri Allen, associate professor & director of Jazz Studies, University of Pittsburgh Department of Music, saluted the distinguished trio with dance, music and poetry. After the plaques were presented and the standing ovations were over, hundreds retired to the first floor for the grand finale, a reception featuring the Step Team of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Spotted at the reception: Darryl Strayhorn, Jarvis Jennings, Renee Aldrich, Bill Johnson, Will and Nikki Coffee Denton, Cathy Irvis, Deryck Tines and James Johnson.
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