William Peace University Announces the 2021 Alumni Award Recipients.

Apr 8, 2021

The WPU Alumni Association is pleased to recognize this year’s Distinguished Alumni of the Year, Distinguished Service Award, Young Alumni of the Year, and the Professional Studies Alumni of the Year. Award recipients will be honored at the Virtual Big Bash on Saturday, April 17 at 6:00. 

“We are proud to recognize these individuals as examples of the outstanding alumni of William Peace University and thank them for their continuous contributions to our community and University.” 

The most prestigious award given by the Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumni of the year, recognizes a graduate over 35 for significant accomplishments in career, community, and family. This year’s recipient is Fortune Feimster ’02. Fortune is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor. She first made a name for herself on Chelsea Lately. She was a series regular on The Mindy Project for Hulu, Champions for NBC, and has made many television and film guest appearances, including Tales of the City, Dear White People, Claws, Office Christmas Party, Chick Fight, and a recurring role on CBS’s Life In Pieces. She appears in the recently released films: Lionsgate’s Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar and Netflix’ Yes Day alongside Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez. Fortune has performed stand-up on Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers and her specials for Comedy Central and Netflix; her one-hour stand-up special SWEET AND SALTY premiered on Netflix last year. (She even jokes about her time at Peace!) 

The Young Alumni of the Year Award recognizes a graduate under 35 for significant career, community, and family accomplishments. This year’s recipient is Christian Levar Gray ’14. Christian is a player development coach, entrepreneur, speaker, and success coach. Gray is the founder of DIVERSE (Dedicated Individuals who Value Education, Relationships, Success, and Effort), a community-based organization committed to developing society’s leaders on and off the court. DIVERSE was founded through Christian Gray’s love and passion for service, mentorship, and basketball. As a player development coach, Christian has worked with male and female athletes from youth to the NBA level, with academies located in Tijuana, Mexico, Nassau, Bahamas, and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation Dakota. Off the court, Christian Gray works with hundreds of families and students across the state of N.C. From book-bag/food drives, financial literacy seminars, SAT/ACT prep, youth advocacy to leadership development seminars, DIVERSE provides resources to all communities, but intentionally to those underserved, all for no charge. DIVERSE represents much more than basketball; it’s a community of servant leaders who believe in love and respect. What matters is equality and love for all. 

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an alumnus who has willingly and devotedly served William Peace University. This year’s Distinguished Service Award recipient is Dawn Dillon ’86. Dawn has been a member of the WPU faculty and staff since 1999. She is currently the Director of Retention and First-Year Experience. As the Director, she coordinates the campus retention efforts, oversees the FYS 100 Course, supervises Peer Mentors, serves as an academic advisor, co-directs the Pathway to Peace fall orientation program, teaches courses in leadership in the Honors program, as well as the “other duties as assigned.” During her time at Peace, Dawn has held several positions, including Director of Residence Life, Director of the Adventure Program, Director of Academic Advising, and Director of Campus Life. While at Peace, she has received the Jan Edwards Service Award, The Outstanding Academic Advisor Award and was the first staff member inducted in WPU’s chapter of ODK, Leadership Honor Society. Outside of Peace, she served as the President of the North Carolina Housing Officers, presented at multiple national and regional conferences, is a certified EQi (emotional intelligence) interpreter, and is active in several ministries at her church, Edenton Street United Methodist Church. 

The Professional Studies Alumni of the Year recognizes the outstanding graduates from the School of Professional Studies for their personal and professional accomplishments. This year Professional Studies Alumni of the Year is Gale McKoy Wilkins ’11. Gale is the Founder and Executive Director of Project ArrowTM and Family Education Initiative. Project Arrow is an evidence-based Life Coaching and Leadership program for middle, high school, and first-year college students. Project Arrow is the first to implement Life Coaching in a school setting; during instructional time and after-school. Since its first implementation in 2018, over 700 students have participated in Project Arrow. Mrs. Wilkins is the former Executive Director of two statewide advocacy agencies – North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement – within the N.C. Department of Administration. The Council provides funding to 100 counties for their domestic violence programs, which provide shelter services, counseling, 24-hour crisis line services, transportation, court and advocacy services, and assistance to children who witnessed violence. Other programs and services included sexual assault, batterer intervention programs, stalking, and human trafficking. Gale has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Peace College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Women in Leadership from N.C. State University.

We are proud to recognize these individuals as examples of William Peace University’s outstanding alumni and thank them for their continuous contributions to our community and University.

Join us at the Virtual Big Bash on Saturday, April 17, at 6:00 to celebrate our 2021 Alumni Award winners. Register at bit.ly/wpuaw21

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