Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winners
2021 - Kenneth Epps, BS’90
Kenneth Epps is the recipient of the professional achievement award in honor of his prestigious three-decade-long naval career. He reached another milestone in 2019 when he was promoted to rear admiral and deputy chief of staff for fleet ordnance and supply in the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Epps’ role is to ensure that all the Navy’s operating forces in North America and the North Atlantic have what they need logistically to succeed. Epps is also currently serving as an assistant professor at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
2020 - Monique Nelson-Nwachuku, BS’96
Monique Nelson-Nwachuku, BS’96, chair and chief executive officer of UWG, will be honored with the Alumni Professional Achievement Award. A marketing and advertising industry thought leader, she also has been honored for her work to improve the lives of others by United Way of New York’s Women’s Leadership Council with the Power to Make a Difference Award.
2019 - Roy Blount, Jr., BA'63
A celebrated writer and humorist, Blount has published 24 books, has been a panelist on National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait. . . Don’t Tell Me, and has contributed columns, essays, stories, verses and drawings for 171 periodicals including Garden and Gun, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, and Smithsonian.
Blount was the president of the Authors Guild, a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary, and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and the Vanderbilt University Student Media Hall of Fame. He also received a Rockefeller Foundation residency at Bellagio, Italy, and the Thomas Wolfe Award for lifetime achievement from the University of North Carolina.
He is on the Vanderbilt Magazine Advisory Board, has been a Reunion volunteer and is a member of the Oak Leaf Society that recognizes donor loyalty to the university.
2018 - Kimberly Bryant, BE'89
As founder of Black Girls CODE, Kimberly Bryant introduces an ever-growing number of girls of color to technology, computer programming and entrepreneurial concepts. The non-profit organization has chapters in seven US cities as well as Johannesburg, South Africa, and plans to train 1 million girls by 2040.
Bryant has been named to Forbes magazine “40 Women over 40” to watch, EBONY’S “Power 100,” Marie Claire magazine’s 20 women changing the world, and CNN 10: Visionary Women. She has received the White House Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service and is a Government Technology Top 25 winner. She serves on the Chancellor’s Dores of Distinction committee and received the Vanderbilt School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017.
2017 - Doug Parker, MBA'86
Doug Parker, MBA ’86, is the recipient of the 2017 Vanderbilt Alumni Association Alumni Professional Achievement Award.
As a veteran airline industry executive, Parker has been credited with record revenue growth and operational performance. While serving as chairman and chief executive officer of US Airways Group, he was instrumental in the merger with American Airlines that made American Airlines Group the largest airline in the United States in 2013. He is now chair and chief executive officer of American Airlines Group.
Parker currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the Owen Graduate School of Management and the Parents Leadership Committee, received the 2004 Owen Distinguished Alumnus Award, and was the 2013 Owen commencement speaker.