FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sam Burston
ATLANTA (May 15, 2018) -- Billye Suber Aaron, a former UNCF executive, educator and television personality, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the Commencement Convocation at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) on Monday, May 21, at 8 a.m. in the Panther Stadium, 735 Beckwith St, S.W.
Aaron is an Atlanta leader in community service focused on educational opportunities for African-Americans. In March 2018, CAU awarded her the Dr. Thomas W. Cole, Jr. Legacy Award, one of its highest honors. In May 2017, the Billye Suber Aaron Pavilion opened on the campus of Morehouse School of Medicine, and Aaron serves on the Morehouse College Board of Trustees.
“We are pleased to honor Mrs. Aaron for her strong advocacy of education. Her gift of an education to hundreds of students around the country will have an impact on our communities, our country and the world for generations to come,” said Dr. Ronald A. Johnson, president of Clark Atlanta University. “We are especially grateful for the service and support she has given to the Atlanta University Center Consortium.”
Aaron, a 1960 graduate of Atlanta University (one of CAU’s parent institutions), made her television debut in July 1968 on WSB-TV’s “Today in Georgia,” becoming the first African-American woman in the Southeast to co-host a daily hourlong talk show. After six years on “Today in Georgia,” she moved with her husband, Hank Aaron, to Milwaukee, Wis., where she hosted and co-produced her own weekly television half-hour talk show, “Billye.”
Her fundraising career began in 1980 when she joined the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) as area development director and Southern region vice president – becoming the second woman in the organization to hold the position. For 10 years, she co-hosted the Atlanta segment of the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars telethon, and she is the creator and founder of the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball.
In 2016, she established The Billye Suber Aaron Legacy Scholarship. The $1.25 million will benefit students attending four UNCF member institutions.
Following her retirement from the UNCF in 1994, Aaron and her husband co-founded the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation – a philanthropic trust that makes grants to children between the ages of 9 and 12. To date, the foundation has awarded more than 800 grants to kids in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Mobile, Ala. In 2007, Major League Baseball and the National Boys and Girls Club partnered with the foundation to create another Aaron initiative, the “44 Forever” program. The program annually provides grants to 44 high school juniors and seniors across the country who are members of the Boys and Girls Clubs seeking to develop their talents and chase their dreams. The foundation now assists college students, as well. To date, 54 endowed scholarships of $100,000 each have been established at 17 colleges and universities, 10 of which are HBCUs, with CAU, Morehouse and Spelman colleges among them.
Aaron has taught in the Atlanta Public School System, as well as at Spelman, Morehouse, South Carolina State and Morris Brown College.
Clark Atlanta University is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a yearlong celebration, which officially starts on July 1, 2018, and will include a host of national events.
For more information on CAU’s 2018 Commencement schedule, visit www.cau.edu.
University Media, Alumni
In case of extreme inclement weather, Mrs. Aaron will serve as the convocation orator for the Graduate Commencement, which will be held at 2 p.m., in the L.S. Epps Gymnasium.
Keywords: Billye Suber Aaron, Commencement 2018