Radio One, Inc. Founder & Chairperson, Cathy Hughes received the Kappa Alpha Psi Humanitarian Award along with President Barack Obama, Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), and Dr. Ian Smith at the Kappa Annual Convention in Washington, DC on August 4, 2009.
It was standing room only in the main ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in the Nation’s Capital with over 5000 Grand Kappa Fraternity Brothers and their Sweethearts and fellow Pan Hellenic Members for the opening session of the largest annual convention in Kappa Alpha Psi history. Opening night ceremonies provided the occasion for the awarding of the highest honors that the 98-year old Fraternity bestows.
The Laurel Wreath Awards, which are the highest honor for the members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, this year, were awarded to Dr. Carl Anderson, Ralph J. Bryson, Nathaniel R. Jones and Thomas A. Moorehead. Humanitarian Awards (the highest honor for non-members) were bestowed upon President Barack Ohama, Senator Mary Landrieu, Dr. Ian Smith and Cathy Hughes. The President came to the convention to personally receive his Humanitarian Award from the Kappas. Also in attendance at the convention was the Kappa Mayor of Washington, DC, Adrian Fenty and the current Kappa members of Congress, Alcee Hastings, Lacy Clay, Sanford Bishop, and John Conyers and former Kappa members of Congress, Representative Walter Fauntroy and Louis Stokes.
In accepting her Humanitarian Award from Kappa Alpha Psi, Cathy Hughes thanked the Fraternity for their ongoing support of the Piney Woods School. The 100-year old school in Piney Woods, Mississippi was the recipient of a $1 million dollar contribution from Kappa Alpha Psi during their fundraiser on August 6, 2009. The Founder of the school, Dr. Laurence C. Jones, was one of the very first African American college graduates in this country and one of the early members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and is the maternal grandfather of Cathy Hughes. The presentation to Piney Woods School was made by Grand Polemarch Dwayne M. Murray who noted that the four presidents of Piney Woods School have all been Kappa Alpha Psi active members. Cathy Hughes credited much of her success to the Kappa men whom she “had been blessed to have in her life.” She also expressed her gratitude to the Fraternity for including her in the distinguished company of the President of the United States, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Dr. Ian Smith of the 50 Million Pound Challenge.
The evening’s Award presentations were spectacularly handled by Grand Polemarch Dwayne M. Murray, Executive Director/COO Richard Lee Snow and National Committee Chairman Kevin J. Johnson. The evening’s Public Meeting was perfectly staged with dramatic sound, light and video effects. Live performances included the vocal artistry of Kappa Brother Jonathan Hicks and comic great Cheryl Underwood brought the house down when she protested her two minute limit on remarks as the International Grand Basileus of Zeta Phi Beta, proclaiming that “there is nothing a Zeta sister can do with a Kappa brother in two minutes” and then demanded that they “reset the clock,” which they graciously did. However, when other speakers started to run “well” over their allotted time – Academy Awards sounding music started to play softly in the background and the audience loved the reactions of the speakers who sometimes just as graciously ignored it.
Cathy Hughes described her view from the stage of the Public Meeting as “a sea of strong, brilliant, committed, college educated, good looking black men, from all walks of life, nattily attired in varying shades of Crimson and Cream with creases in their trousers and a shine on their shoes that paled in comparison to the illuminating smiles on their faces.” “Awesome is the right description of the entire Kappa Convention,” she went on to add.