Crystal Benefit–NBC 5’s news anchor Marion Brooks, Spelman College Class of ’88, and Muriel Ruth Ketchum Yarbrough, Spelman College Class of ‘49, have been selected as 2008 Alumnae Honorees when the Chicago Chapter of the National

Crystal Benefit–NBC 5’s news anchor Marion Brooks, Spelman College Class of ’88, and Muriel Ruth Ketchum Yarbrough, Spelman College Class of ‘49, have been selected as 2008 Alumnae Honorees when the Chicago Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College (Atlanta) presents “A Crystal Blue Evening.” The 22nd annual scholarship fund-raiser is Dec. 13, 6 p.m.–10 p.m., in the Plaza Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Proceeds from the elegant event will support the financial needs of current Spelman students through its two scholarships: The Lois Davenport Fambro Scholarship (named in memory of Teesee’s mom, president of Spelman’s Class of 1930!) and The Georgia Dwelle-Rooks Scholarship.

Brooks, co-anchor for Ch. 5’s 4:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reporter for the 10 p.m. newscast, is also a regular contributor to WVON’s Cliff Kelley Show. Community outreach is a principal part of her work, and she has emceed for some of the most important events in Chicago, including the Chicago Urban League, Black Creativity, Rainbow/- PUSH Coalition, N’Digo, Midtown Educational Foundation, American Heart Association, Make AWish Foundation and more.

As the great-great granddaughter of Rev. Frank Quarles (1866-1881), pastor of Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church and a Spelman College founder,, Yarbrough was destined to attend Spelman. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago and a year later joined the Chicago Spelman Club (now NAASC Chicago Chapter). Throughout her many years of active membership, she has held every office of the local chapter, served several terms for the Great Lakes Region Association and has held national offices.

Event tickets are $70 ($700 per table of 10) and include dinner, alumnae tributes, entertainment and college presentations. For more info, the mailing address is NAASC Chicago Chapter, P.O. Box 6729, Chicago 60680; send an e-mail to info@naascchicago. org or call Tangela Blakely, (312) 617- 3457. To pay by credit card, visit the Website

Congrats–to Desiree Glapion Rogers, Chicago socialite and businesswoman who’s most prominent in corporate and business spheres and – most of all! – is a trusted insider friend of Michelle and President-elect Barack Obama. Desiree has been appointed as the White House social secretary, indeed an influential and far-reaching position. Hitting the road running, the Harvard MBA with an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, will be responsible for organizing the swearing-in of the Obama Cabinet the very next day following his Inauguration. She’s “a heavy hitter,” according to Valerie Jarrett, named just last week as President-elect Obama’s senior White House advisor.

Desiree was named one of the "Top 25 Women to Watch" by Crain’s Chicago Business, one of the "Top 50 Most Powerful African American Businesswomen and one of the "Top 75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise.

She comes to the White House from Allstate Financial, where she created a social network of consumers and clients. Previously she was president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and in the early ‘90s, was director of the Illinois Lottery. She was once married to John Rogers, chairman of Ariel Capital Management, a close friend of President-elect Obama and a co-chair of his Inaugural Committee. Desiree and John’s daughter attend Yale University.

Last week, Desiree hosted a “perfect birthday party” for Valerie, which included on the prestigious guest list President-elect and Michele Obama.

“Desiree has extraordinary flair and exquisite taste,” Jarrett was quoted as saying. “My party was perfect. She had my favorite food, my favorite flowers.” Chicago rocks!

Whazup, DC?–Washington, D.C. party planner par excellence Rod Gaines has put together several events for the Obama Inaugural Weekend – Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Jan. 18 – for and with “Two Degrees of Separation” & “Friends & Friends of Friends.” Here goes: Friday, 9 p.m.-midnight, “Dreams Do Come True” Dinner, Georgia Brown’s Restaurant, 950 15th St., N.W., business attire, $130; Saturday, 12:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m., “Salute to First Lady Michelle Robinson Obama” Luncheon, B. Smith’s Restaurant, Union Station, $75, business attire; Saturday, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., “Audacity of Hope & Celebration Ball,” Four Seasons Hotel, Georgetown, 2800 Pennyslvania Ave., N.W., $300, white tie attire; and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., “Two Degrees of Separation” – “Obama on Mt. Rushmore” Champagne Brunch, Fairmont Washington Hotel, Georgetown, 2401 M St., N.W., $85, business attire. Choose your event or attend them all. The total weekend celebration package is $590 per person. To register or for more info, visit

And More!–The Al Sharpton Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is scheduled for Jan. 19. While it’s being billed as “the place to be” that day and as “the place where the “who’s who of the world” have committed to attend,” Sharpton’s National Action Network has yet to work out the details – like time and place. I hear it’s free! Call NAN, (212) 690-3070. It’s being said that President-elect Obama will speak, though not confirmed.

Hats Off–to Ronald L. Allen, chair of the National African American Association, responsible for maintaining, developing, and improving relationships with traditional insurance industry trade associations and other organizations representing the interest of minorities in the ever growing emerging multicultural marketplace of the insurance business. President of A. Allen Insurance Agency Ltd., a Chicago Allstate agency, Allen is a grad of Chicago State U. and was a former business education teacher with the Chicago Public Schools. He joined Allstate in ‘67 and was one of their first African American claim adjusters. He later became one of the first African Americans promoted to Allstate agent. Allen has maintained an agency affiliation with the Allstate Insurance Companies for 40 years. His agency has won several regional and national honors during his scareer. He formerly was co-host of WVON’s The Financial Forum. He has served on the Allstate Foundation Regional Grant Committee, Demicco Youth Center Board of Directors, DuPage County Crime-stoppers Board of Directors, CSU Alumni Board and the DuPage County Adult Probation Department Volunteers.

NAAIA is dedicated to empowering African American insurance professionals currently in the industry as well as increasing their numbers nationwide. NAAIA engages in the sharing of information for personal growth and professional development while providing opportunities for networking, continuing education and building mutually beneficial partnerships. NAAIA with chapters in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. is presently forming chapters in Cleveland, Dallas, St. Louis and Jackson, MS. Visit

Delta Doings–The Mental & Physical Health Committee of the Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is planning its free Bernadette Whitt Health Seminar for Dec. 6, 2 p.m.–6 p.m., at D’Estee House, 4525 S. King Dr. The event, which will zero in on mental health issues in the African American community, is dedicated to the memory of Bernadette Whitt, a Delta. Phyllis Little, committee chair, says the seminar is open to the public. Translation: “We’re all invited!’

Newsy Names!–Send prayers up for a fave co-worker, Larry Gross, Defender sports editor, recently discharged from Veterans’ Administration Hospital.

Warner Saunders, NBC 5’s news anchor, emcees the 95th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Tuesday noon at Daley Plaza.

Happy b’day to Denise Campbell, associate publisher of Who’s Who in Black Chicago. She’ll hoist a few with pals on Wednesday at Room 21.

Ill. Dept. of Human Services’ Dr. Carol Adams keynoted Black United Fund of Illinois’ Community Workshop on Saturday.

But Never Forgotten!–Sorry to hear of the passing of Morgan Carter, popular radio host a.k.a. “the conversation starter.” Services were at Roby Park Manor Funeral Home. Condolences to his wife, Wanda Armstrong Carter, who produced his radio shows.

Also sympathy to the family of former Waddell & Reed agent, Charles N. Edmonds, whose funeral was at Leak & Sons. He’s survived by a daughter, Linda E. Mitchell.

Please know that each and everyone of you are in my prayers as I thank Our Heavenly Father for your continuing love and support! And, yes, I love you, too!

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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