Defender’s Carol Bell to keynote East-West Univ.’s Convocation

Congratulations to Carol Bell, the Chicago Defender’s executive director of finance (our CFO). She’s been selected to deliver the keynote address at East-West University’s 29th Convocation Ceremony on June 19 at the Harris Theater for Mu

Congratulations to Carol Bell, the Chicago Defender’s executive director of finance (our CFO). She’s been selected to deliver the keynote address at East-West University’s 29th Convocation Ceremony on June 19 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. Bell will speak “words of wisdom” before some 180 graduates in addition to nearly 1,000 family members, university personnel, alumni and guests. She will receive E-WU’s distinguished Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in recognition of her “extraordinary contributions to journalism, business and community service.”

E-WU, a fully accredited, non-denominational, non-profit and located 816 S. Michigan Ave., in Chicago’s South Loop, is the only private institution of higher learning in Illinois with a majority African American student body. More than 80 percent of its approximately 1,050 students are eligible for maximum federal financial aid and over half of the students are the first in their family to attend college. E-WU has become an important bridge from underserved communities to higher education in Chicago. Bell is “in good company,” as previous commencement speakers have included Mayor Harold Washington, Margaret Burroughs, Ph.D, former Illinois State University president Dr. Al Bowman and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Attn: Jazz Junkies! – Maggie Brown sings centerstage when the Hyde Park Jazz Society holds its regular gathering this Sunday, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m., at its new home, Club L26 in the South Loop Hotel, 11 W. 26th St., just west of State Street. Entry to the hotel is through its free parking lot located on the hotel’s west end. Admission: always only $10; students with college IDs and children accompanied by an adult, $5; food and bar service will be available. And June 19 (Dads’ Day), HPJS presents the Curtis Robinson Quartet.

Ernest Dawkins, one of our town’s premier jazz saxophonists whose music reflects his extraordinary talent not just as a musician but a composer as well, plays the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., Wednesday, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $10 cover; $5 parking behind the venue after 6 p.m. Dawkins, who has recorded 11 CDs, is founder and leader of his own group, New Horizons Ensemble … And at Symphony Center (in Orchestra Hall) Saturday and Sunday then June 16-18 there’ll be several concerts featuring Kirk Whalum, smooth jazz saxman; Bettye LaVette, R&B soul singer; and the Rebirth Brass Band. Call (312) 294-3000 to reserve your seats.

Be sure to mark you calendars for Sept. 24-25; it’s the Fifth Annual Hyde Park Jazz Fest, a two-day celebration, this year on Chicago’s Culture Coast, with some of the best jazz in Chicago – and all for free! Saturday’s concerts will be performed in the historic neighborhood’s renowned arts and cultural venues as well as on the James Wagner Main Stage on the Midway Plaisance (59th Street). Sunday’s programming will all be on the Midway’s main stage. Also new this year will be an expanded vendor and dining area. The popular Midnight Jam Session will move to a larger venue, Mandel Hall on 57th St. (Full details to come soon!)

The Chicago Community Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Keith Hampton, presents “Many Moods of Music,” a free concert of jazz, show tunes, opera chorus, R&B and other great songs on Saturday, 2 p.m., at Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside. The diverse, all-volunteer choir of 130-plus voices actively seeks to reflect the diversity of Chicago by the involvement of singers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, so says the Chicago Urban League’s Roderick Hawkins, who is a choir member.

Newsy Names – WVON/AM-1690’s Cliff Kelley (a.k.a. “The Governor of Talk Radio”) receives the prestigious Vernon C. Jarrett Par Excellence in Journalism Award on Friday from the Coalition for United Community Action during its 39th Annual Unity Testimonial Banquet at the Palmer House Hilton. Last year’s recipient, Chicago Defender President Michael House, makes the presentation. Also to be cited, Gov. Pat Quinn, who receives Man of the Year honors. U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-7th, keynotes; Carl L. Latimer, CUCA president, is dinner chair.

Happy b’day to Craig Gilmore, Clarence Page, Wynona Redmond, Carl West, Doug Banks, Rev. Reggie Williams, Donna Simpson Leak, Bobby Wooten, Monica Haslip, Roman Morrow, Andrea Brookins, Oba Wllliam King, Jun Mhoon, Sylvia Fedrick, Lloyd St. James, Aaron Freeman, Sparkle Stewart, Darryl Petty, Monica Morrow, Johnny Keyes and Vicky Wooten … Soulful diva extraordinaire Patti LaBelle does what she does best on July 16 at The Venue in Horseshoe Casino in nearby Hammond, Ind.. Tickets: $45-$75. Call (219) 473-6060 … Gov. Pat Quinn, Jim Montgomery, Judith Rice, Robin Beaman, William Petersen, Les Coney, Woodie King, Gwen Butler, Neal Zuker and Michael Lufrano, all serving on the honorary host committee, want us to save the date of Oct. 14 for “A Legendary Celebration” marking the 35th anniversary year of Jackie Taylor’s Black Ensemble Theater. The $200 per ticket gala will be staged at the InterContinental Hotel. For other anniversary info, call (773) 769-0692.

Curtain Call! – Darlette McAlpin’s Field of Souls, directed by Runako Jahi, opens Thursday on eta Creative Arts Foundation’s Mainstage, 76th and South Chicago Avenue, and continues through July 31. Showtimes: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. General admission is $30; all seats on Thursdays are $10, group, senior and student discounts are available by calling (773) 752-3955. Synopsis: The Dixon family had a dream for their future that suddenly erupts when Buddy comes marching home.

Golf Groove – Chicago’s Robin Aikens, pro golfer and motivational speaker, has joined Miami Heat’s legendary Alonzo Mourning for his annual “Summer Groove,” July 22-24 in Miami. The event attracts celebrities and professional athletes from all over the country. The Groove is a three-day weekend fundraising event that has something for everyone: golf, comedy, a benefit dinner, youth summit and basketball clinic, sports conference and other exclusive functions. Now in its 15th year, The Groove has raised more than $7 million for local South Florida programs and initiatives supported by Alonzo Mourning Charities.

Through hard work, commitment and a positive attitude, Aikens went from living in Chicago Housing Authority residences, often referred to as “the projects” to being involved with programs created by Michael Jordan, Steve Harvey, Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade. Aikens, president and CEO of Robin Aikens Enterprises, an entrepreneur, author, golfer, violinist, community leader and mother of three, is a true renaissance woman. While attending last year, Aikens participated in a variety of activities, sharing her passion for achievement and her blueprint for su

Aikens has done big celebrity golf clinics for the Chicago Urban League and Black Enterprise. She’s also been featured in Jet magazine, on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, the Monique Caradine Show and African American Golfers Digest that honored her in 2009 as an Outstanding Leader in Golf. Also, she is founder and executive director of Inner City Youth Development, a non-profit organization. She’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Health Help for Him – WVON/AM 1690 has partnered with Advocate Trinity Hospital to present “Let’s Get Real” a free day-long men’s health event at Bessemer Park, 8930 S. Muskegon, on Saturday beginning with a 7 a.m. fun walk. Also included: complimentary health screenings (kidney, prostate, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, pulmonary function and HIV), health workshops, a “fit or foul” challenge, raffle drawings, a kids corner, giveaways, food, fun and more. Staff physicians will be on hand to answer questions. Call (800) 323-8622 or visit

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