Six alumni will receive the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award for their contributions to the university, their profession and their communities. The six recipients will be honored Friday, Oct. 25, during KU Homecoming week and the Black Alumni Network’s biennial reunion.
The award is named for the late Mike Shinn, a 1966 School of Engineering alumnus, who helped found the KU Black Alumni Network, and his wife, Joyce.
Katherine Conway-Turner, Buffalo, NY, who received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 1976, her master’s degree in psychology in 1980 and her doctorate in psychology in 1981.
Jyarland Daniels, New York City, a 1997 business graduate.
Bonita Gooch, Wichita, who completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1977 and her master’s degree in public administration in 1978.
Eva McGhee, San Francisco, who earned her doctorate in cellular immunogenetics in 1995.
Ivory Nelson, Houston, who received his doctorate in chemistry in 1963.
Norma Norman, Georgetown, TX, who completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1967 and her law degree in 1989.
Conway-Turner has been a leader in higher education for more than 20 years. Before becoming president of Buffalo State College-State University of New York in 2014, she served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Hood College and State University of New York, and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University. A first-generation college student, she advocates for affordable tuition and food security for those who are underserved.
Daniels is a steadfast advocate for social justice and racial equity. After graduating from KU, she launched her career in marketing and public relations and worked with several Fortune 500 companies, before earning her law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. She has since served as executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Detroit, and in 2016 she founded Harriet Speaks, an equity and inclusion consulting firm. Most recently, she was appointed interim chief communications officer of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Gooch is a veteran journalist, community activist and entrepreneur. She owns TCV Publishing, which has produced several local newspapers. As editor-in-chief of The Community Voice, which features news, issues and interests of the African-American community, she has been honored with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Media Advocate Award and two Kansas Press Association awards. Gooch has expanded The Community Voice’s distribution across Kansas and grown the paper into one of the largest non-daily newspapers in the State.
McGhee is a scholar and humanitarian whose research focuses on health disparities in African-American and Hispanic women. One of her most notable accomplishments is the discovery of the candidate gene for Coffin-Siris Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Her research has been widely published. She currently serves as assistant professor of medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
Nelson has had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, educator and leader in higher education. At KU, he was the first African-American student to receive a doctorate in analytical chemistry and to be inducted in Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society.
He’s served as chancellor of the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio, as president of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, and as president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where the Ivory V. Nelson Center for the Sciences was built.
Norman has devoted her career to education and human resources. She served as an elementary school principal and managed a state education-certification program in California. In Las Vegas, she directed employee and labor relations at the Bellagio Hotel, served as a civil rights officer for the state and as a resources counselor and employee relations coordinator in Texas.
The KU Black Alumni Network has honored 77 African-American leaders since 2006.