More Faces of Oakwood

Due to the popularity of the Spring 2017 issue, we have decided to feature more “Faces” in subsequent issues of the Oakwood Magazine. Feel free to submit your nomination of an individual who has positively influenced your life, either here at Oakwood—in the classroom, at church, in the dormitory, on the basketball court, etc.—or, has transformed lives through his/her service following their time at the Oaks.

We need the person’s name, and the reason(s) for the nomination in 90 words or less. Please include the year the person graduated, or the time he/she attended Oakwood. Also, send a high resolution photo (300 dpi / 5×7 inches).

Please email the information and photo to: All submissions subject to editing for space.

Alma Montgomery Blackmon was able to read music and play the piano at age 5, and grew into a sought-after musician, who once sang as a soloist at the White House for President Truman. “Ma” Blackmon is perhaps best remembered for directing the Aeolians and the College Choir, during her 12 years in the Music Department, teaching classes in diction and music theory, and giving lessons in voice and piano. Mrs. Blackmon retired from Oakwood College in 1985, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree by Andrews University in 1988.
Sydney Freeman, Jr., Ph.D., started blazing trails by founding the Progressive Black Caucus at Oakwood, and serving as a senator in the United Student Movement. By the age of 26, Freeman had completed his graduate studies from Auburn University, and is now an associate professor at the University of Idaho. The American Association of University Administrators honored him as their “2015 Emergent Leader of the Year.” Freeman is the managing editor of the Journal of HBCU Research + Culture, and is founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education. He and his wife Lynda are lifetime members of the National Oakwood University Alumni Association.
A pastor by training, Elder Frank L. Jones II served as treasurer of the South Atlantic Conference, as the first Black secretary of the Lake Union Conference, and was the first Black to serve in the General Conference Treasury Department. After retiring to Huntsville in 1991, he helped raise funds for the construction of the McKee Business and Technology Complex at Oakwood University. Elder Jones helped establish the Office for Regional Conference Ministry, and was instrumental in organizing the Regional Conference Retirement Plan.
The passion that Zavon Kanion, DDS, has to serve others is reflected in his involvement in the community of Kansas City, Missouri, where he owns and operates a successful dental practice. In 2017, he and his wife Jacqueline received a Cornerstone Award by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City for building affordable housing for low-income residents. Dr. Kanion gladly serves as Finance Chairman and Elder at Linwood Boulevard SDA Temple. He established the Helen Miller Kanion Scholarship at Oakwood University, in honor of his mother, to assist in the education of future healthcare providers.
The Lord has blessed Lois E. Peters to fulfill her goal of making a difference in the lives of young people. She and her husband Leroy have underwritten the cost of education for several students who would otherwise not have access to Christian education. The Lois and Leroy Peters Music Center at Washington Adventist University, and the Peters Media Center at Oakwood University, are testaments to their unwavering support of Christian Education.
Before retiring from Sprint, Ralph D. Reid served as Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, and led Sprint’s Community Affairs, Corporate Diversity and Inclusion, and Corporate Sustainability efforts. He also directed the company’s philanthropic activities as President of the Sprint Foundation. Reid has a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Oakwood, and has served on Oakwood’s Board of Trustees. He received a Juris Doctor degree, as well as an Honorary Doctorate, from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
While a student at Oakwood College, Pastor Dennis Ross, Jr., was president of the Evangeliers, and Religious Vice President of the United Student Movement. He also met the love of his life, Jacquelyn, in 1961. He has won thousands of souls to Jesus in the United States, and has preached on the continents of Europe, Australia, South America, and Africa. In his retirement he has focused on mentoring boys and young men of color with Operation Reachback. Pastor and Mrs. Ross celebrated 50 years of marriage in July, 2017.

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