'Community' star Yvette Nicole Brown to be honored by UA


The University of Akron’s Office of Multicultural Development will recognize the contributions of outstanding student leaders, distinguished alumni and community leaders at its eighth annual Scholarship Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 25, in the Student Union Ballroom.

UA alumna Vivian Celeste Neal will receive the Legacy, Leadership and Excellence Award. Neal recently retired as program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a position in which she was the primary grant-making official for the Akron and Fort Wayne, Ind., communities. Prior to her position with the Knight Foundation, she earned a reputation as one of Akron's leading educators, having served with the Akron Public Schools for 36 years as a teacher, principal and administrator, as well as with UA as special assistant to the senior vice president and provost in the area of educational outreach. Currently, she is enjoying retirement and lives in Fairlawn.

Yvette Nicole Brown and Samuel DeShazior will receive distinguished alumni awards. Brown, who stars in NBC’s prime-time comedy hit “Community,” earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at UA in 1994. She also has had roles in programs such as “Entourage,” “The Office,” “That's So Raven,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Half & Half,” “Sleeper Cell,” “House,” “Two and a Half Men,” “That 70's Show,” “Boston Legal” and Nickelodeon's “Drake & Josh.”

DeShazior, the city of Akron’s deputy planning director, graduated from UA in 1993 with a Master of Arts in Urban Planning. Prior to his position with the city, he was senior director of business development with the Greater Akron Chamber and managed an economic development team working on projects ranging from industrial business expansions to international joint venture. During his years with the chamber, DeShazior was instrumental in coordinating economic development and urban planning initiatives throughout the region.

A reception and silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner following at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $75 per person and proceeds benefit the UA Office of Multicultural Development’s scholarship endowment. For tickets or more information, call 330-972-8133 or e-mail rmw14@uakron.edu.

Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or slane@uakron.edu.