Dr.Carletta J. Harlan, 30th Anniversary Program Chair, Mrs. Gwendolyn Key, Charter Member, and Mrs. Florence Gillespie, Alumni Member
2012-2013 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Connecting Links Lead the Way
The Gateway (IL) Chapter
Lillian Parks, Ph.D. 2012 and 2013 Scholarship Awards Program
The Connecting Links Mentoring Program had ended. The 43 participants– scholarship recipients, their parents and family members — left the classroom for the next session with enthusiasm and anticipation. As they moved to the Awards Program, many were overheard commenting: “It was outstanding.” “I am so glad I attended this program today.” “The gentlemen were good. I enjoyed them.” “Awesome!”
The occasion was the Gateway (IL) Chapter’s Dr. Lillian Adams Parks 2012 and 2013 Scholarship Awards Program held Sunday, June 23, 2013 at the St. Louis Community College William J. Harrison Education Center located at 3140 Cass Avenue in St. Louis, MO. Twelve outstanding and deserving young scholars from the Bi-State communities were presented scholarships ranging from $500.00 to $1,000.00. There were three segments of the scholarship program — the Connecting Links Mentoring Program, the Awards Program, and the Reception.
Connecting Links, the husbands of members of the Gateway (IL) Chapter, set the stage for an afternoon of inspiration, validation, communication, and fun. During the Mentoring Program, the Connecting Links, who were gentlemen from the corporate, public, and entrepreneurial arenas, offered sage counsel to the talented twelve about how to successfully navigate the college experience. The personal and exclusive experiences shared by the Connecting Links encouraged open dialogue with award recipients, family members and their guests. KUDOS and rave reviews were given to the Connecting Links for facilitating an outstanding program. They were Mr. George (Bonnie) Gipson, Mr. Jesse (Rosalee) Johnson, The Honorable Mayor Alvin (JoAnne) Parks, and Mr. Kelvin (Valerie Bell) Westbrook.
A statement to summarize the essence of the program is taken from the comments made on an exit survey by a Gateway member: “Excellent program. Well executed. This could grow to be a benchmark initiative. Black men in front of Black young people, talking about success!!! Powerful.”
2014 SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS PROGRAM
The 2014 Scholarship Awardees are accompanied by Gateway (IL) Chapter members Dr. Gwendolyn Packnett and Chapter President JoAnne Hamilton-Parks (left), and
Dr. Lillian A. Parks and Dr. Carletta J. Harlan (right).
Salute the 2015 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship Recipients
It was a day of firsts. The first Historically Black College and University west of the Mississippi partnered with the first Bi-State Chapter of The Links, Incorporated to host and present, respectively, a mentoring program and awards ceremony to outstanding scholars, their families, and guests from schools in the Illinois and St. Louis regions. Harris-Stowe State University-St. Louis, MO and The Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated partnered to present The 2015 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship Awards Program and Reception at the William L. Clay Early Childhood Center on the campus of the regional Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Partnership and participation with Historically Black Colleges and Universities are one of the national initiatives of The Links, Incorporated. This historical partnership adds to the many firsts Harris-Stowe State University and the Gateway (IL) Chapter have experienced through the years.
In 1857 the St. Louis Board of Education founded Harris Teachers College (named for William Torrey Harris) to prepare white teachers for white elementary schools. In 1890 the St. Louis Board of Education founded Stowe Teachers College (named for Harris Beecher Stowe) to prepare black teachers for black elementary schools. The two were merged in 1954. In 1987 Harris-Stowe College was named one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) under the U. S. Department of Education.
The Links, Incorporated was established in 1946 as one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. In May, 1986 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks organized the Gateway (IL) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated. It is the original Bi-State Chapter of the organization. On July 12, 2015 the partnership with Harris-Stowe State University to enhance the Gateway (IL) Chapter scholarship program became a reality.
Seven scholarship recipients participated in the programs facilitated by members of the Gateway Chapter and their spouses at Harris-Stowe State University. Affectionately called ‘Connecting Links’, the spouses continue to promote a legacy that affords young awardees an opportunity to experience outstanding male leadership and words of wisdom from icons in the African American communities. Connecting Links Carlton Adams, Dr. Larry Jones, David Littleton, Alvin Parks, Jr., and Judge Milton Wharton facilitated the 2015 Connecting Links Mentoring Program.
Greetings from Dr. Dwayne Smith, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Harris-Stowe, and from Mr. Shawn A. Baker, Associate Dean of Student Success, expounded the significance of the programs being hosted by Harris-Stowe, and applauded the partnership between the university and the Gateway Chapter. Mrs. JoAnne Hamilton-Parks, Chapter President, reciprocated with words of gratitude to the university, and presented an inspirational challenge to the young scholars and all in attendance.
Reflections from Dr. Lillian Adams Parks, for whom the scholarship is named and the Chapter organizer, touched the heads and the hearts of those in attendance. An outstanding speaker and leader, Dr. Parks’ words encouraged excellence in all endeavors.
The ending reception provided an opportunity for members of the Gateway Chapter and Connecting Links to personally congratulate the scholarship recipients and to engage in informal exchanges with their families.