2021 Kente Awards, Sponsored by Amgen, Will Honor Community Leaders Peggy Quince and Vincent Jackson

April 14, 2021

The 2021 Kente Awards and Scholarships Ceremony at the University of South Florida, sponsored by Amgen, will recognize 19 scholarship recipients and two community leaders. All proceeds from this annual event benefit diversity scholarships at USF.

The Kente Awards, presented by the African American Advisory Committee, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Institute on Black Life, and Ruth and Jerry Bell, recognize leadership in resolving educational and social problems as they relate to individuals of African American heritage.

Two community leaders will be recognized at the event: Justice Peggy Quince with the Joyce Russell Kente Community Leader Award and the late Vincent Jackson ’16 with the Joyce Russell Alumni Award.

Quince was the second African American and third woman to serve as chief justice for the state of Florida. She was a justice of the court from 1999 to 2019 and was the first African American woman to sit on the state's highest court and just the third female. From 1993 to 1997, she served as a judge on Florida's Second District Court of Appeal. On July 1, 2008, Quince assumed the office of chief justice of the Supreme Court of Florida for two years, the first African American woman to head any branch of Florida government.

Jackson, primarily known for his prowess on the football field, boasts accomplishments far beyond the gridiron. He graduated from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business in 2016 following 12 seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with both the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Feeling a strong commitment to serve the community in which he lived, Jackson launched the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation in November 2012. The foundation’s mission is to provide support to military families, focusing on the educational, emotional and physical health of children. 

Nineteen students will receive scholarships at the event, including the Black Faculty Staff Association Endowment Scholarship, the Dr. Israel “Ike” Tribble Jr. Endowed Scholarship and the Ruth and Jerry Bell Endowed Scholarship.

The keynote speaker for the event is Jewel Burks Solomon, the head of Google for Startups in the U.S. In this role, she works to level the playing field for underrepresented startup founders and communities by connecting them with the best of Google’s products, people and platforms.

The title sponsor for this year's event is Amgen. Gold sponsor is the Florida Lottery. Green sponsors include WUSF Public Media, MOSAIC, Onyx and the USF Foundation Diversity Initiatives & Scholarship Office. Silver sponsors are the Rooms To Go Foundation, USF Alumni Association, USF College of Arts and Sciences, USF Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity and USF Foundation Office of Gift Planning. Bronze sponsors include Joyce Russell, Dr. Judy Genshaft, Donald Odom, Esq., Sharon Ayers-Thompson and CourMed.

For more information, contact Walter Jennings, assistant director of development for diversity initiatives, at jennings(at)usf.edu.