Thursday, August 25, 2011

HU Updates for New Student Check-In

HU Updates for New Student Check-In

Hurricane Irene has been predicted to produce hurricane force winds and rain this weekend in Hampton Roads. At this time, HU plans to adhere to the schedule for new student check-in on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27. However, in the event that severe weather may impact travel, new students may check-in to the residence halls on Monday or Tuesday. Visit for updated information.

Monday, August 22, 2011

HU alum inducted into National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame

Johnnie B. Booker

HU alum inducted into National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame

Atlanta, Ga.  – Hampton University Alumnus Johnnie B. Booker, Class of 1961, will be inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta located at 265 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta.  

The ceremony highlights and honors deserving graduates of HBCUs for their distinguished service to their country, alma mater and excelling in their field of endeavor and/or contribution to community and society. 

The induction ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta located at 265 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Ga.  

For the past 26 years, the Hall of Fame has recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of these graduates in the fields of arts and entertainment, athletics, business and industry, community service, education, faith and theology, government and law, medicine, science and lifetime achievement.

Since graduating from Hampton University with a bachelor’s of science degree in sociology, Johnnie Booker has held many prominent positions within prestigious companies, appeared in countless national publications and has received an abundant of honors and awards for her exceptional specialized contributions and accomplishments.

As the vice president of the Resolution Trust Corporation Booker created extraordinary contracting and investment opportunities for minority and women owned businesses and law firms.  She commissioned the first disparity study by a federal agency, and increased contracting fees for minority and women owned businesses from 18 percent to over 48 percent and from 3 to 26 percent for minority and women owned law firms.

She later went on to become the global director of supplier diversity at The Coca-Cola Company. Booker has exceeded the company’s goals every year. Within her first year with Coca-Cola she increased business by 50 percent with minority and women owned businesses, and exceeded the company’s goal by 27 percent.

For tickets to the ceremony and more information on the 26th Annual National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. Weekend conference, please call  404-524-1106 or visit

                           - Breana Hubbard '12

Thursday, August 18, 2011

“The Help” Actress Aunjanue Ellis to star in HU production

If there were ever an actress that could demand the attention of an audience, even when sharing the screen with heavyweight movie stars like Viola Davis, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington, it is Aunjanue Ellis. For more than a decade we’ve enjoyed Ellis on a number of television shows such as The Practice, New York Undercover, True Blood, and her latest, The Mentalist.

Ellis has also showcased her range as an actress repeatedly on the silver screen, from portraying Ray Charles’ first background singer Mary Ann Fisher in Ray, to portraying Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston in Brother 2 Brother. Next spring Ellis will join the Hampton University family when she stars in the Hampton Player’s and Company production Through the Crack 

Through the Crack will be performed at Armstrong Hall Little Theater March 15-17. It is the heart-warming story of three African-American women bound to one another by the common blood that flows through their veins. Vickie’s single, saved and sanctified sister Vanessa Morgan, has her middleclass lifestyle in the city disrupted when she is forced to acknowledge what she has long suspected--that her sister is entangled in a web of drug addiction and headed swiftly for destruction.  This provocative play traces the women’s journey from addiction to recovery, detailing their thoughts, feelings, and actions towards their circumstances, and exposing their individual desires to avoid being smothered by family responsibilities and relationships.  The characters’ faith in God sustains them through the laughter and the tears, as they learn the true meaning of unconditional love on all levels.  Ellis will return to her theatre roots in the lead role as Vickie Morgan.

Ellis can currently be seen portraying Yule May in the critically acclaimed movie The Help, starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, and Octavia Spencer. Ellis sat down with us to discuss her career as an actress and her current role in "The Help."
Q: Your new movie "The Help" hit theaters Aug. 10. What attracted you to this project?
A: It was a story about Mississippi women. I am a Mississippi woman. It was shot in Mississippi. I live in Mississippi. And the character and the story got beneath my skin.

Q: In "The Help" you play Yule May. Can you give a little background information on her?
A: Yule May is a woman who interrupted her life and her education to take care of her children and is forced to make a choice that alters her life and her family’s life forever. I hope I was sufficiently vague in that response. I don’t want to give too much away.

Q: What was it like working alongside Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson?
A: Viola Davis is a bad chick first of all. She is a great actor, one of THE great ones. But besides the education I got by working with her, I experienced her humility and generosity as an actor. It was revelatory. Octavia Spencer, who hopefully everyone will know after this movie comes out, is also a bad chick and just as lovely a human being. And I did not work with Ms. Tyson, but I did get to breathe her air for a few weeks. I felt blessed to do it!

Q: "The Help" is Tate Taylor’s directing debut. What was it like working with a new director? 
A: Tate was fresh, inventive, thorough, calming, as well as profane and hilarious. Everything you want in any director.

Q: The movie deals with racial issues that will remind older audience members of experiences they may have lived through. It will also shed light on a time in our past that younger audience members have never and will never experience. What do you want an audience member to take away from the movie?
 A: Working on the movie, I met several people whose lives, their current lives, are reflected in the themes of this story. I think individual privilege sometimes blinds us to the very real existence of racism. It is a tired conversation that needs a new language, perhaps. I hope this movie contributes to that happening.

Q: What inspired you to be an actor?
A: I was inspired by Vanessa A. Williams’ portrayal of a hit woman in New Jack City.

Q: What was your favorite character to portray and why?
A: Molly Cunningham in August Wilson’s play "Joe Turner's Come and Gone.” She was fun, sexy, funny, mean, fragile, pained, and lonely. I had to integrate all of those elements into a very limited amount of text. It nearly killed me, because I was never satisfied. I didn’t achieve all that I wanted in her until the end of the run of the play. I couldn't sleep. I cut myself off from my friends. Sounds unhealthy, right? It was. But, when I was on stage and felt the audience was traveling with her, that they understood her, were appalled by her, hated her, loved her, it was everything I wanted to experience as an actor. 

Q: When looking at scripts and characters, what attracts you to a part?
A: Will it be fun? Will I fall in love with her? Learn something from her? Will I look forward to waking up in the morning to be with her? And I read that if a project scares (an actor), then they know it is something they should do. I feel the same way. If I get sweaty-palmed about a character, then I know she's for me.

Q: Some actors have no problem crossing the line by portraying controversial roles and performing risqué scenes such as Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball,” Denzel Washington playing a corrupt cop in “Training Day,” and Monique playing the abusive mother in “Precious.”  Are there any roles you won’t take or instances where you won’t cross the line as an actor?
A: No. Lines are meant to be crossed. Any actor worth their breeding is a fearless one ready to cross over, no, leap over lines. If it is in the human experience, then it is worth telling.

Q: What was your most pivotal moment as an actor?
A: There hasn't been one, but anytime someone says they are moved by some work I’ve done, then that is important to me.

Q: How do you feel about the state of the industry in regards to actors being given the opportunity to portray reputable characters? What about minority actors?
A: I have to say I have no interest in playing characters that are merely reputable. They bore me. I love the ill reputed, because I love challenging prejudices and preconceptions about people.

Q: What’s the biggest obstacle for an actor in today’s industry regarding obtaining work?
A: So many actors, wonderful ones too, and too few roles.

Q: What piece of advice would you give those looking into a professional acting career?
A: Every actor's experience is unique, so I bristle at giving philosophical advice to anyone. Practical advice is best. So I’ll say this, you will have to change outfits/costumes a lot between appointments so learn how to change clothes in public without getting arrested! Oh, and when you get to said appointment--be prepared! Know the lines better than anybody in the room.

Q: What keeps you going? Did you ever have moments where you wanted to throw in the towel?
A: I have never felt like I’ve gotten it right. I will always keep pushing until I do.

- Jade Banks

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HU Students Intern at the Pentagon

HU Students Intern at the Pentagon

Dominique Waters, Raymond Nimox, and Summer Clark outside of the Pentagon.

Four Hampton University students were chosen to intern with the Department of Defense and receive hands on experience at the Pentagon this summer.  Whether it was through HU Career Center, a professor, or a flyer on the wall in their department this opportunity was presented to Summer Clark, Willie Crank Jr., Raymond Nimox, and Dominique Waters in different ways.

The students were a part of the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholars Program and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

“In the first few weeks of my internship, I felt I had arrived in the world of professionalism,” Waters, an applied mathematics graduate student stated. “I was not treated like an intern but rather a valued employee.”

The students took on challenging roles at the pentagon. Summer Clark served as a program analyst intern with the Building Operations Command Center of the Pentagon Building Management; Willie Crank Jr., an analyst intern; Raymond Nimox, an electrical engineer intern; and Dominique Waters, a statistical analysis intern with the Environmental Services Department of the Pentagon Building Management.

For ten weeks during the summer, these students spent 36-40 hours a week working to support building operations and configuration management staff through tasks such as; revising and reformatting operations manuals to create spreadsheets to organize data and performing statistical analysis of agency data to reveal program accomplishments, trends and activities.

“The internship gave me the opportunity to network with individuals in really high positions and helped me to expand my thinking in regards to the methods used to attain my goals,” Clark, a senior business management major attributed.

The Washington Center Program provides an integrated academic and work experience to prepare college students for lives of achievement and civic engagement and the SMART program was designed to increase the number of civilian analysts, scientists and engineers working within the Department of Defense. Student stipends ranged from $5000 to $8300.

“My advice to incoming students is to be flexible and resourceful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Crank, a senior mathematics major said. “Hampton prepared me well for the professional world.”

All four students have made plans to further their education with hopes of working for the government in the near future. Nimox, a senior electrical engineering major, looks forward to working directly with the pentagon after graduation.

-Breana Hubbard '12