Two women received lifetime-achievement awards, and nine others were recognized earlier this month at Stockton University’s Council of Black Faculty & Staff’s annual awards dinner.

The 35th annual scholarship awards dinner and dance fundraiser on Nov. 4 drew more than 250 people to the Renault Winery Resort & Golf in Egg Harbor City. This year marks the 45th anniversary for the group, according to a university statement.

Patricia Reid-Merritt, a social work and Africana studies distinguished professor, and Minister Cynthia James, a widow of Olympian and longtime Stockton athletics administrator G. Larry James, received lifetime-achievement awards.

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Reid-Merritt has been at Stockton for 40 years and started the first Council of Black Faculty & Staff awards dinner in 1981. She also started the Fannie Lou Hamer Human and Civil Rights Symposium.

James became pastor of the House of Prayer International in 2012 after being ordained at Jamieson Theological Seminary as an evangelist in 2001. She, along with her late husband, came to Stockton in 1972.

Donnetrice C. Allison, associate professor of communication studies and Africana studies, and Arleen C. Gonzalez, associate professor of criminal justice, both received merit awards.

Jessica Grullon, a 2009 alumna, graduate-enrollment counselor and events coordinator, and Alexander C. Marino, a 1991 alumnus and assistant to the provost for Atlantic City instructional sites, received distinguished alumni awards.

Susan Davenport, executive vice president and chief of staff, received special recognition at the ceremony.

President Harvey Kesselman surprised Sonia V. Gonsalves, a psychology professor and director of academic assessment, with an award as she nears retirement.

“Dr. Gonsalves was presented with the Special Tribute Award for her numerous years of service to the council and dedication to Stockton,” said Patricia W. Collins, president of the CBFS.

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Covering breaking news for The Press of Atlantic City since September 2016. Graduate of the University of Maryland, Central Jersey native.

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