Diversity and Inclusion

Black History Month: 4th Annual Sankofa Alumni Lecture Series

February 25, 2020 at 6:00pm8:00pm

Watson Hall, Watson Theater

The Sankofa Lecture Series is an annual event that seeks to bring alumni to campus and share their experiences regarding transitioning to the professional world and navigating life beyond the bounds of campus. This year’s iteration of the series features a panel of alumni including, Kavell Brown ’16, Courtnee Futch ’15 G ‘16, and David L. Jackson ’17. The panel will be moderated by recent alumna and graduate student, Abigail J. Covington ’19 G ’20.

Collaboration with Multicultural Advancement, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Blackstone Launchpad, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. 

Kavell Brown: Growing up in the projects of New York City raised by his single mother alongside his twin brother, Kavell Brown ’16 is no stranger to hardships that come with humble beginnings. With the triumphant parenting of his Mother and the support of his mentors, Kavell was able to graduate from Syracuse University with a B.S in Information Management & Technology. During his tenure at Syracuse University, he had the honor and privilege to intern with JPMorgan Chase, HBO, a non-profit called On Point for College, run a hip-hop dance troupe, and inspire the next generation through his involvement. In his current role, Coordinator of Community Investment and Corporate Social Responsibility at ViacomCBS, Kavell oversees the company’s corporate philanthropic giving, spearheads a company-wide mentoring initiative, and helps to develop prosocial cause marketing campaigns with his team. Kavell also serves on the advisory board of The Fund for Public Housing, the Youth Leadership Core of the NYC Mayor’s office, and is an active member and volunteer at his local church Hillsong NYC.

Courtnee Futch: Courtnee Futch ’15 G’ 16 has spent the last seven years translating her southern roots into eclectic, high-end culinary experiences, as the owner of ThunderCakes bakery and now [the.spred], a private catering service. The Atlanta native grew up baking her mother’s coveted recipes. When she came to Syracuse University as a 16-year old freshman, she turned to baking again. Courtnee started ThunderCakes in 2012 and grew it into an e-commerce bakery for the SU community. After finishing her MS in Entrepreneurship at Syracuse in 2016, she moved to New York City to begin her career on the corporate side of food. In 2018, Courtnee launched [the.spred], a personal chef service that curates and hosts full-service dinners, both for private events and public theme parties. She also works full-time as the Head of Business Development & Brand for a B2B food startup.

David L. Jackson: David L. Jackson ’17 is a teacher, author (Untitled: Welcome to my Mind), workshop director, and motivational speaker — born and raised in the inner city of Miami Dade County Florida. Upon Earning the Posse Academic and leadership scholarship (1 out of 1100 selected in 2013) he went on to completing his Undergraduate Degree majoring in history and secondary education at Syracuse University. Jackson currently serves as The Law Academy lead teacher. The Courses are designed mock the rigor of a college-level course. Using the pro-seminar methods, students are provided information and it is their task to decipher, critically analyze, and build ideas using their findings.

This event was first published on January 7, 2020 and last updated on January 21, 2020.


Event Details