Spring 2017 Pages 38-39

Dr. Leighcraft Shakes, was an RA during his years at Oakwood, and was active as a Literature Evangelist. He exemplified Christ and greatly impacted the experience of the students working with him. Dr. Shakes is currently a pharmacist-pharmacotherapy specialist.
Dr. Walter Simmons is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the Boler School of Business at John Carroll University, where he was the first African American economics professor, chair of the economics department, and coordinator of the International Business program. He has guided a cultural and academic immersion program in Africa, Europe, China and South America, and continues to mentor and advise minority students. The retention and matriculation of minority students at the university have increased because of this mentoring program.
Owen Simons is one of several students who organized a freshman choir in 1988. That choir’s name became Dynamic Praise, and Simons was the first director. He has since been succeeded by Andrew “Benji” Young, Bruce Bean, and current student Bryce Davis. Dynamic Praise has traveled extensively, sharing the stage with such artists as Yolanda Adams and Richard Smallwood, and many more. The choir’s alumni roster includes members of Take 6, Virtue, and Committed, Sean Simmonds, Duawne Starling, Carmen Hope and Lee Cort.
Dr. Alice Princess Msumba Siwundhla arrived at Oakwood College from Malawi, Africa. She was featured on the pioneering reality TV show “This is Your Life,” and recounts her life as an orphan who was later adopted by a Seventh-day Adventist missionary, Mrs. Josephine Cunnington Edwards in her bestselling autobiography “Alice Princess.” After Oakwood, Alice Princess earned a Ph.D. from United States International University in San Diego. She stars in the award-winning web series “Alice Princess is Fresh!” which focuses on healthy eating. The series is produced and directed by her daughter, award-winning broadcast journalist and film producer Lena Nozizwe.
While attending Oakwood, Stephen A. Spates was president of the Communication Club, a member of the Acorn yearbook staff, PR director for the USM, and a member of the Alpha Chi Honors Society. He graduated with honors in 2009. After Oakwood, Stephen earned the master’s degree in 2012 from Western Michigan University, and has almost completed requirements for the Ph.D. degree at University of Tennessee. Spates has made a remarkable impact on his students at Missouri State University.
You’ve heard the story: in 1980, Claude McKnight started the Gentlemen’s Estates Quartet. Mark Kibble heard the group rehearsing in a dorm bathroom, joined the harmonies with a fifth part, and performed on stage that night. Mervyn E. Warren joined shortly afterward. The group signed with Reprise Records/Warner Bros. in 1987 as Take 6, and the rest is history. They have produced 16 albums, and have won 10 Grammy awards and 10 Dove awards. Their music ministry has influenced thousands around the world.
Bryant Taylor, D.Min., has held pastoral assignments in the Central States, Ohio, and Allegheny west Conference. He is passionate about technology, and is the co-host of Tech Talk, an internet program on technology. Bryant presents workshops on media and technology, and consults with churches on technology and audio-visual ministry. “If it has an on/off button, I either have it, want it, or am on my way to purchase it,” he says.
Eric Thomas, Ph.D., continues to impact millions of people with his creative style and high-energy messages. Through a significant social media presence and an intense tour schedule, “ET, The Hip Hop Preacher” has become a global phenomenon. Thomas has led his team through the doors of dozens of organizations and Fortune 500 companies, such as General Electric, Quicken Loans, AT&T, and Nike, and to the locker rooms of sports teams within the MLB, NBA, NFL and MLS. Eric’s spiritual walk and tenacity make him the epitome of hustle, drive, determination, and success.

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