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WSSU Foundation appoints new officers, members to its board of directors

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) Foundation, Inc., a private nonprofit organization that focuses on the long-term needs of the university and enhances the efficiency of its fundraising efforts, has announced the appointment of new officers and eight new members to its Board of Directors.

WSSU Alumnus Marcus Cox (’97), will serve as Chair of the Board along with two other alumni who will serve as officers: Crystal Thompkins (’99) as Vice-Chair and Siobahn Day Grady (’05) as Secretary. Brian Vannoy will serve as Treasurer.

The new members—Kristie Swink Benson, Tamara Holmes Brothers, Nicole Carr, Ayana Ferguson, Alex Johnson, Jonathan Lindsay, Camille Banks-Price, and Clayton A. Scott—will assume their responsibilities on July 1, 2022, and will serve two consecutive three-year terms. The board’s mission is to foster and promote the growth, progress, and general well-being of the university and to support the financial needs of WSSU students.

“The members of the Board of Directors will remain focused on increasing private support for Winston-Salem State University and our students while enhancing the daily operations of the Foundation,” says Marcus Cox. “Creating synergy and alignment between the Foundation’s goals and the university’s new strategic plan is a priority.”

The foundation’s board of directors consists of local community members, alumni, and university administrators and oversees how the foundation raises money, invests donations, and distributes grants, of which WSSU is the sole beneficiary. It also advises and supports other activities of the foundation that are designed to promote the interests of WSSU. The board of directors currently manages $99.5 million in assets.

Kristie Swink Benson is the vice president of communications and chief spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro). Prior to joining Metro, she served as director of communications for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and currently serves on the board of the Public Relations Society of America. She has a master’s degree from American University and a bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University.

Dr. Tamara Holmes Brothers is the Deputy Director of the North Carolina Arts Council and comes to the council from Duke University, where she is the Director of Development & Major Gifts at the Nasher Museum of Art. In addition to her experience at the museum, she was Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Duke. A native of Fayetteville, NC, she holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from Hampton University and a master’s degree from West Virginia University and serves on several boards.

Nicole Carr is an Atlanta-based, four-time Emmy award-winning journalist for ProPublica where she covers racial inequality, criminal justice, and the pandemic. An alumna of Winston-Salem State University, she recently signed a book deal with HarperCollins Publishers/Day Street and is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Ida B. Wells Society.

Ayana Ferguson is passionate about the intersectionality of technology and policy and is a Data Scientist at SAS Institute, Inc. She is co-founder of SAS’s Data Equity Practice and is an Analytical Advisor for Social Innovation Initiatives, and is a Black Initiatives Group council member. She also serves as co-chair of the Data Quality Subcommittee of the US Census Quality Reinforcement Taskforce. A graduate of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree from Wake Forest University. She is currently the RTP-NSBE Programs Chair and a board member for INTech Camp for Girls.

Dr. Alex Johnson is a 1971 graduate of Winston-Salem State University and is a former president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, OH. Johnson’s tenure as Tri-C president was the culmination of a 40-year career in higher education and prior to leading Tri-C, he served as president of the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh and chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans. He also served as president of Tri-C’s Metropolitan campus. Johnson is also the author of two books on leadership.

Jonathan Lindsay is a technology leader with nearly 25 years of industry experience and serves as Operations Manager for Microsoft Corporation in Charlotte. Throughout his career, he has held roles in application development, software engineering, systems analysis, project management, relationship management, and IT leadership. Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The Honorable Camille Banks-Prince was appointed in 2008 by former Governor Michael F. Easley as the Tenth District Court Judge in Forsyth County. A native of Winston-Salem, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Cum Laude from North Carolina Central University School of Law. Judge Banks-Price currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Legacy Foundation for Women and is the recipient of several community awards. 

Dr. Clayton A. Scott is a 1976 graduate of Winston-Salem State University and continued his education at The Ohio State University, Cheney University, Temple University, and Stanford Hill University. He is one of the founders and is past president of the WSSU New Penn Del Alumni Chapter and is a retired administrator of The School District of Philadelphia.

“We are delighted to appoint an array of talented individuals from a wide range of sectors to the Board of Directors,” says Dr. LaTanya Afolayan, Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Executive Director of WSSU Foundation. “We welcome their experience and skills, which will ultimately augment the work we do on behalf of our students and this university.”

The returning board members for 2022-2023 are: Marcus Cox, Barry Eisenberg, Siobahn Day Gray, Sharon Jeffries-Jones, Candrice Oliver, Eric Sadler, Crystal Thompkins, Lynne Walker, Tres Vance, Chris Wilson and Mautaryn “Mo” Wright.



Founded in 1970, Winston-Salem State University Foundation, Inc. receives generous support from loyal, enthusiastic alumni and friends of Winston-Salem State University. As funding support from the state of North Carolina becomes more constrained, private gifts as a revenue source are more important than ever. 

The foundation also operates Winston-Salem State University Housing Foundation, LLC in an effort to assist in campus development and revenue generation. WSSU Housing Foundation, LLC exists exclusively for the benefit of WSSU to lease, operate, manage, and contract for the construction of student housing facilities. Since its formation in 2001, the foundation has supported projects that have added 1,100 beds to the campus.

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