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13 Howard University Alumni Honored at 2024 Bison on Annapolis Reception

President Vinson and members of the Howard community saluted alumni serving in Maryland’s General Assembly at the annual event

President Vinson with Bison Breaking Barriers honorees

With the 446th session of Maryland’s General Assembly now underway, Howard University’s Office of External Affairs hosted a reception to honor those state legislators with ties to the University.

On Thursday, Jan. 11, nearly 100 people, including President Ben Vinson III, Ph.D., Cabinet members and student leaders, gathered at the historic Governor Calvert House in downtown Annapolis to celebrate Bison making an impact in Annapolis. The inaugural event was held last January on the heels of Gov. Wes Moore’s historic inauguration as the state’s first Black governor and paid tribute to the seven Howard University alumni who served as members in the 445th session of the Maryland General Assembly.

This year, the number of honorees increased to 13, including Paul Montiero (J.D. ’07), who serves as Maryland Secretary of Service & Civic Innovation in the Moore administration. The event also acknowledged that this year’s General Assembly includes the largest Black state legislative caucus in the country, a testament to the Black excellence on display throughout Maryland’s political landscape.

“You all are the role models proving to our students that they can also be the change they want to see in this state, in our country, and across the world,” President Vinson said during his remarks at the event as he extended heartfelt appreciation to the legislators and leaders for their service to the people of Maryland.

President Vinson addressing the Bison on Annapolis attendees

President Vinson addressing the Bison on Annapolis attendees. (Justin D. Knight/Howard University)

“Maryland is in more than capable hands with so many Howard alumni in positions of influence and, as I look out at each of you, I cannot help but to notice that Bison spirit that you display ever so proudly,” Vinson continued. “I am excited to continue working in partnership with you over the coming months and years.”

Among the legislators presented with “Bison Breaking Barriers” awards was Delegate Denise Roberts of Prince George’s County. Roberts was appointed to represent Maryland’s 25th district when now-Maryland State Senator Nick Charles vacated his Delegate seat to replace former State Senator Melony Griffith (MSW ‘87), who resigned to become president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association in late 2023.

Roberts (B.A. ’95), a former communications director for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (J.D. ’00), said her time at Howard University inspired her to pursue a career in public service.

“Howard University alumni are often thought of as being very quick to brag about our connection to Howard, but we really do take seriously our duty to serve others and we embrace opportunities to lead,” Roberts said. “Being at this event and seeing the pride we have as alumni as well as the pride the University has for us is pretty special. It really does make you want, even more, to do a good job because we know we’re representatives of the University and what it stands for – truth and service.”

President Vinson with Delegate Denise Roberts

President Vinson with Delegate Denise Roberts. (Justin D. Knight/Howard University)

In addition to Roberts, the other honorees were: Del. Frank Conaway; Del. Charlotte Crutchfield (B.A. ‘86); Del. J. Sandy Bartlett (B.A. ‘87); Del. Jamila Jaye Woods (B.A. ‘90, M.Div. ‘99); Sen. C. Anthony Muse (Doctorate of Ministry ‘’91); Del. C. T. Wilson (HUSL ‘03); Del. Bernice Mireku-North (HUSL ‘06); Del. Stephanie Smith (HUSL ‘09); Del. Ashanti Martinez (B.A. ‘18); and former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (B.A. ‘82, HUSL ‘86).

Myana Johnson, a senior political science major from Chicago, is the current policy director for the Howard University Student Association (HUSA). She and a half dozen HUSA members made the trip from campus to the event, and she said it was an evening she’ll not soon forget.

“As my time as a student here draws to a close, I look at opportunities like this as one of the best reasons a young person should want to come to Howard University,” Johnson said. “Having the chance to connect with leaders of the school as well as leaders in business, government and so many other fields have made my Howard experience a truly special one.

“Howard aims to expose us to unique opportunities that don’t just educate us, but also inspire us to be better citizens,” Johnson added.