Theta Omicron Chapter
2017 Talent Hunt Program

Rochester, NY – Theta Omicron Chapter’s “First Talent Hunt Program” was organized and chaired by Bro. Edward Taylor. For over 50 years, his Inspiration and Courage has helped this chapter to continue our tradition of showcasing Talent on the Local, District, and International Levels.

This current year without exception, Theta Omicron Chapter hosted its 56th Annual Talent Hunt Program on March 19, 2017 at East High in Rochester, N.Y. The program’s success would not be possible without hard work from the chapter committee, under the leadership of Bro. Lavonne Richards, Sr. Bro. Richards credit the success of Theta Omicron’s Talent Hunt Program to the chapter’s brotherhood and their sponsor Mr. Louis Bunno owner of several McDonald restaurants in the Rochester area.

The program, consisted of several talented students who endured several months of auditions. The final selection yield twenty participants in the categories of Classical Instrumental, Classical Vocal, Semi Classical Instrumental, Semi Classical Vocal, Dramatic Interpretation, Dance and Visual Art. This years’ overall winner, Adrianna Lester is a Senior at the School of the Arts. Adrianna took 1st place in the Semi Classical category singing a song made famous by Nina Simone, entitled “I Put a Spell on You.” She will be representing Theta Omicron at the Second District Conference in Rye, NY.

“Theta Omicron Chapter, Rochester, NY - Omega’s Jewel in the Northeast”
“Home of the 39th Grand Basileus,
Bro. Dr. Andrew A. Ray”

Theta Omicron Chapter has received the following awards and or Honors

  • Rochester City School District “Friends of Education Award” for consistent work within the schools to help educate and mentor students.
  • Rochester, NY Education Foundation – “Community Volunteer Award” for work with School #4 Project Stride program
  • Founder the Loftus C. Carson UNCF Golf Tournament, which has generated over $300,000 in scholarships. In 2011 the tournament celebrated its 35th Anniversary.
  • In 1987, Theta Omicron Chapter created the ‘Theta Omicron Scholarship Foundation” to serve as the philanthropic arm of the chapter. The foundation was the first fraternal organization in NYS to have a foundation which is listed as a United Way designated donor.

Theta Omicron - Bro. Benjamin Daise, Ph.D. 2017 Distinguished Faculty Award
Hobart and William Smith College
Alumni Association

Rochester, NY - The Hobart Alumni Association and William Smith Alumnae Association honored our brother, Professor of Philosophy Benjamin Daise, with the Distinguished Faculty Awards on Friday, June 2, 2017 in the Vandervort Room in Scandling Campus Center during the colleges 2017 Reunion.

Bro. Benjamin Daise, Ph.D., a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc for 55 years, is one of the first black philosophy professors in the country. He spent nearly 40 years enriching the lives of his students through the study of existentialism and ancient philosophy, with special attention to the idea of self. He is the author of Kierkegaard’s Socratic Art, a book that affirmed his role as a leading voice on Kierkegaard in the field. Trained in Danish and Greek. Bro. Daise earned his B.A. in chemistry from Morehouse College and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. Bro. Daise is remembered by former students as challenging their preconceived notions of who they were and what they were capable of. Robert Alan Schindler ’72 reflected: “Ben Daise transmitted a rare and contagious enthusiasm for philosophy and treated students with respect, dignity and equality.”

Established in 1990, the Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes the importance that graduates of the Colleges place on the contributions of outstanding faculty members of the past – for their impact as teachers, mentors, and scholars. Nominations for the award are sought by all alumni and alumnae and are professors who are retired or have moved on from Hobart and William Smith for more than five years or are deceased.

“The impact that professors have on their students can last a lifetime. They have a gift to inspire, challenge and engage with their students,” says Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13. “Selected with great care and consideration, faculty members are remembered for their teaching as well as their scholarly achievements. All have left distinct marks on HWS, and their legacies still influence those who had the good fortune to study with them.”

Theta Omicron Presents the Bro. Dr. Lemuel Rogers, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Endowment & Portrait

Theta Omicron, Rochester, NY - At the 118th Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony of the Rochester Academy of Medicine in Rochester, NY; Mr. David Powell was awarded the 2018 Dr. Lemuel Rodgers Jr. Memorial Scholarship by the brothers of Theta Omicron Chapter and Mr. Lemuel Rogers, III, the son of Bro. Dr. Lemuel Rogers, Jr.. Mr. Powell of Bakersfield, Ca, a 2016 graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, La, is a rising 3rd year medical student at the University of Rochester, considering Internal Medicine as his specialty.

2018 is the 3rd Annual Dr. Lemuel Rogers Jr. Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a rising 3rd year medical student at the University of Rochester of African ancestry. The criteria for winning the scholarship is based upon the student’s academic record and community service.

Brother Dr. Lemuel Rogers Jr. of Norristown, Pa was initiated at Beta Chapter in 1953. Dr. Lemuel Rogers Jr. attended Penn State University and Lincoln University before serving in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. Upon his return he completed his bachelors degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1959. A 1963 graduate of the Howard University Medical School, he accepted an Internship with the National Institute of Health in Watertown, Ma and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Philadelphia General Hospital. He then practiced for 3 decades in Rochester, NY delivering more than 5000 babies including a set of quadruplets. He was an active member of the National Medical Association, served on the Board of the Rochester Blue Cross/Blue Shield and sponsored an African American Health Symposium with a focus on Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been renamed the “Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers’ African American Health Symposium.

The Dr. Lemuel Rogers Jr. Memorial Scholarship is the first scholarship awarded in the honor of an African American for people of African ancestry at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. A photo of Dr. Rogers was unveiled and will become a permanent fixture at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. Despite his service to the community Dr. Lemuel Rogers Jr. was not offered membership upon his arrival in Rochester, NY in 1968. With the blessing from Dr. Rogers family, new leadership at the Rochester Academy of Medicine, assistance from the Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester, the Gamma Iota Boule of Sigma Pi Phi and the Theta Omicron Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.; the scholarship became a reality.

Rye, NY - Brother Larry Pough, a member of Theta Omicron Chapter in Rochester NY was recommended for and unanimously voted to the position of 2nd District Talent Hunt Chairman Emeritus.

Bro. Pough, the current International Talent Hunt Committee Chairman and president of the newly created International Talent Hunt Foundation is a 47-year Omega man. Bro. Pough served as the chairman of Theta Omicron Chapter Talent Hunt for 5 years. During that time, he implemented the use of performance halls as a venue for his chapter’s Talent Hunt programs and the soliciting of sponsors to increase the cash awards provided to the students. Bro. Pough served as an assistant to the District Talent Hunt Chairman, Bro. Calvin Baxter.

In 1987 Bro. Pough was appointed to the position of 2nd District Talent Hunt Chairman by D.R. Richard Johnson (Omega Chapter). He served as the 2nd District Talent Hunt Chairman for 18 years under the administrations of 9 different District Representatives.

Under Bro. Pough’s leadership, the number of students participating in the 2nd District Talent Hunt program experienced a significant growth. The instrumental and vocal categories were changed to allow classical and contemporary awards in each category, the cash awards were increased in each category, the performance venue was upgraded to performance halls (performing arts schools’ auditoriums) and the guidelines were made available on the district website to allow continuity across the district. Bro. Pough also implemented the use of parental release and consent form which allowed the fraternity to video tape the district Talent Hunt performers. The forms also provided insurance information in case of a medical emergency. Several of the guidelines created in the 2nd District were utilized to help standardize the guidelines currently provided by the International Talent Hunt Committee.

Congratulations are extended to Bro. Pough. Thank you for your service to our youth, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Second District.

Rochester, NY - Rochester General Hospital has earned a well-deserved reputation for providing extraordinary care for critically ill and injured individuals. With more than 125,000 patients visiting the hospital’s Emergency Department in 2016, it is the twelfth busiest ED in the country. Based on its long experience, ongoing commitment to the community, and the proven high level of care it provides, the Rochester General community is pleased to announce that Rochester General Hospital is in the process of pursuing designation as a Level III trauma center.

Leading the charge toward this important designation will be Bro. Christopher J. Richardson, DO, who has been named Trauma Program Medical Director. Bro. Dr. Richardson has been a Rochester General team member since 2006. He is a board-certified General Surgeon who completed his residency in General Surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital and Regional Trauma Center in Bronx, NY, in 2004 and a fellowship in Hand Surgery at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx in 2005. Bro. Dr. Richardson will be partnering with the President of Rochester General Hospital and the Chief of Surgical Services in pursuit of the Level III Trauma Center designation.

A 1993 initiate of Tau Iota Chapter, Hartford, CT, Bro. Dr. Richardson stated “we have already begun the process to move forward in the pursuit of Level III Trauma Center designation. We plan to apply for review by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) later this year in hopes that the hospital will be designated a Level III Trauma Center by the ACS and the state Department of Health within two years.”

He went on to say, “we believe that this designation will serve to recognize current emergency department practices for dealing with critically ill and injured patients and the high level of complex care we provide every day, in all of our care settings.”

This is an exciting step forward for Rochester General Hospital and Rochester Regional Health, and reaffirms its commitment to providing high-quality, accessible care for all our patients, neighbors, and friends

Two Theta Omicron Chapter
Brothers Honored as
“Dreamers That Make Dreams Come True”

Rochester, NY – On March 4, Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church proudly presented its 6th Annual Black Heritage Dinner. This year they honored two influential “Dreamers That Make Dreams Come True” by helping to unlock the potential in young people and enabling them to imagine their future, make plans and dream big.

The 2017 honorees are Bro. James H. Norman, President and CEO of Action for A Better Community, Inc., and Bro. Hezekiah Simmons, CFO & Vice President at Monroe Community College. Bro. Norman has been an Omega man for 31 years while Bro. Simmons has been a member for 54 years.

Bro. James Norman has been President and CEO of Action for a Better Community (ABC) since 1992. For the five years immediately preceding his relocation to Rochester, he served as the Michigan Department of Labor’s Deputy Director for Administration. Prior to that role, he directed the Labor Department’s Bureau of Community Services, which provided funding to, and oversight of Michigan’s statewide network of community action (i.e., anti-poverty) agencies. Under Bro. Norman’s leadership, ABC has expanded services and developed new initiatives to address the needs of low-income individuals and families in Monroe and Ontario Counties. Services include Head Start, outpatient substance counseling, AIDS/HIV outreach and education, workforce development, community development, youth violence prevention, youth and adult mentoring, and home weatherization. (ABC employs over 375 staff and has an annual budget of $25 million).

Over the years, Bro. Norman has been a consultant, speaker or workshop panelist at national and state conferences on topics such as Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA), advocacy, structural inequality, poverty trends, community action history, economic security, and not-for-profit governance. In 2013, he authored a chapter on “Structural Inequality “for the book, The State of Black Rochester 2013: Education + Equity = Employment, published by the Rochester Community Area Foundation.

Bro. Norman received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mercer University (Macon, Georgia.), and his Master’s in Social Work from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, Michigan), where he also completed extensive post-graduate coursework in Public Administration. In 2009, he earned a certificate in Leadership/Executive Coaching. He and Lois Williams-Norman have four adult sons.

Bro. Norman received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mercer University (Macon, Georgia.), and his Master’s in Social Work from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, Michigan), where he also completed extensive post-graduate coursework in Public Administration. In 2009, he earned a certificate in Leadership/Executive Coaching. He and Lois Williams-Norman have four adult sons.

Current affiliations include: ABC Foundation Board, Lifetime Health Care Companies Boards, Excellus BC/BS Regional Advisory Board, Lifetime Care Board, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency Board, Gateways Music Festival Board, Rochester-Monroe Workforce Development ?Board, Co-Chair, Facing Race, Embracing Equity Initiative, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, Strong Museum (Honorary Trustee), Mercer University, College of Liberal Arts Alumni Board, Distinguished RIT Minett Professor Emeritus, MCC Adjunct Associate Professor, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Boule?).

 


 

Bro. Hezekiah ‘Heze’ Simmons is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Vice President Administrative Services at Monroe Community College. He has been employed at MCC for the past 14 years following his early retirement from Xerox where he served many years as VP of Finance and Administration. Joining MCC enabled Bro. Simmons to bring together his passion and avocation for education.

He has long been a supporter of education, serving 14 years on the Board of Directors of the Harley School, Rochester, and 12 years on the Board of Trustees of Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC, where he received his BS in Chemistry. He is also an MBA graduate from the Harvard Business School. Additionally, Bro. Simmons has served on the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Avenue Childhood Development Center since 1995 – an agency near and dear to his heart.

He currently is an active member of the local chapter of the Financial Executive International (FEI). This organization elected Heze as the 2011 Financial Executive of the Year for large organizations. Bro. Simmons serves on the Board of Directors for East House and the Advisory Board for Biodrill Technical Solutions, Rochester, NY.

On the State level, Bro. Simmons’ service to higher education was expanded as he led the NY Community Colleges Business Officers Association (CCBOA) and rose through the ranks from secretary to vice president to president within four (4) years. CCBOA includes member representatives from all 30 NY community colleges as well as representatives from the SUNY administration. Bro. Simmons and his wife, Ann Marie, have been married for 49 years and reside in Pittsford, NY. They are the proud parents of two children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Bro. Simmons is a member and former Clerk of Session for the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford and is the Moderator-Elect for the Genesee Valley Presbytery.

Theta Omicron Conducts Annual Memorial Service “Honoring the Wives of
Our Omega Chapter Brothers”

Rochester, NY - On Sunday, March 12, 2017, Theta Omicron Chapter held its Annual Memorial Service. The ceremony was conducted as part of the morning service hosted by Christian Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Henrietta, NY. Vice Basileus, Bro. Howard Griffin and KRS, Bro. Xavier Holiday led the brothers in the ceremony. The brothers of Theta Omicron chapter continued their tradition of honoring the wives of our deceased chapter brothers by inviting them to attend the Memorial Service, with the brothers.

Bro. Deacon Peter James of the host church related that the visit of the brothers had been highly anticipated by his fellow church members. They and the pastor especially looked forward to the participation of the Omega Select Chorus under the direction of Ms Gloria Brooks. This group of brothers in the chapter, renowned in the Rochester, NY area for their singing talent, had been asked to provide the music for the entire church service. Brothers Errol Hunt and James Norman led the chorus’ three choral selections and the chorus also led the offertory and invitational hymns during the service. The chapter expressed its appreciation to the host church and asked God’s blessings on them and on our beloved Fraternity. Bro. Luvert Walker presented the host church a collective contribution from the chapter. He also recognized the wives and widows during his presentation.

Following the Memorial Service members of the fraternity were joined by the widows and wives for a wonderful brunch at Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. During the brunch, the 39th Grand Basileus, Dr. Andrew Ray; International Talent Hunt Chairman, Bro. Larry Pough; Chaplain, Bro. Dr. Clinton Strickland and Bro. Luvert Walker, organizer of the Memorial Service events offered words of encouragements and uplift to the widows.

Grand Basileus Ray also made a presentation to Bro. Luvert Walker in recognition of his untiring efforts to ensure the widows are not forgotten.

Theta Omicron Brothers History and the Olympic Games Jim's bronze...

Rochester, NY - James “Jim” Wedderburn was the first Barbadian to win an Olympic medal when he teamed up with Jamaicans Mal Spence, Keith Gardiner, and George Kerr to win a bronze medal in the 4x400 yards relay at the 1960 Rome Games. Over 55 years later, a still fit-looking Wedderburn, who celebrates his 79th birthday this year, looks back at this Olympic medal-winning performance. Jim “Lolly” Wedderburn has undoubtedly been a trail blazer in athletics in Barbados, achieving a number of firsts.

A stand-out middle-distance runner at The Lodge School, especially in the 440 yards, Wedderburn was the first Barbadian to receive an athletic scholarship to a university in the United States, way back in 1958. A product of Bayfield, St Philip, Wedderburn studied at New York University, successfully completing a degree program in physical education. Following graduation Jim relocated to Rochester, New York and became a physical education teacher at the historic James Madison High School. Later on he went on to serve as vice principal of the Wilson Magnet High School and later principal of the Edison Technical and Vocational High School. Having served as a teacher, dean of students, department head, a vice principal and principal, Jim returned home to Barbados to become the first Government athletics coach.

Wedderburn, who has a stand at the National Stadium named after him, was awarded a Companion of the British Empire (CBE) by Government in 2000.


 

Rochester, NY – Rochester’s’ own Trent Jackson better known as “TJ” became a permanent fixture at Baden Street Settlement House. Trent attended Benjamin Franklin High School, where he set the National High School Record in the 100-yard dash (9.4). After being taught, coached, and mentored by Coach Mauro Panaggio, TJ pursued his dream at the University of Illinois. He became a Collegiate All-American, as well as Big Ten, Rose Bowl, and National Champion, lettering on the track, football, basketball, and baseball teams. In 1964, he won the Big Ten 100-yard Dash in 9.5, the 220-yard dash in 21.3, and anchored the championship 440-yard relay, the NCAA 4x110 yard relay championship, set the National Collegiate Record in the 100-meter dash (10.1), won the AAU 100-meter championship, the US Olympic Trials 100-meter dash, represented the United States at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. After he became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in 1965, he finished 3rd at the NCAA 60-yard dash. Then, he led Illinois to the 4x440 yard relay championship at the outdoor Big 10 championship. TJ held the 100-meter record at Illinois for 40 years.

In 1966, Trent was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. However, he chose to play football in the National Football League. After playing for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, TJ returned home, and began his passionate journey, of touching the lives of others through coaching at his alma mater, Benjamin Franklin High School. TJ has the distinction of being inducted into the Rochester High School “Section V” Track and Field, Football, and Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach.