Williams to be inducted into AAMU Hall of Fame


  The Alabama A&M University Alumni Association, Inc., will induct four individuals into the prestigious Alumni Hall of Fame Thursday, April 30, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Huntsville, at 7 p.m. The group is being honored for the university support, public service and career success of its respective individuals.

The four include Dr. Taylor Byrd, Jr., retired educator; Mrs. Georgia S. Valrie, institutional advancement professional and Alumni Affairs director emeritus; Mr. Langston J. Walker, businessman; and Gadsden City Councilman Deverick Williams.

Mr. Deverick Williams, the Government and Law Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, is an energetic member of the City Council in Gadsden. Currently, he is serving his second term representing District 2, and he is the City Council President. When he was elected City Council President, he became the first, youngest and African American to serve in the position. One of the contributions that Councilman Williams made in the City of Gadsden is he ably led the committee to change the name of Meighan Boulevard to Martin Luther King Memorial Parkway. The Gadsden, native is a proud 1994 graduate of Alabama A&M University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Accounting. During his matriculation at AAMU, he was a member of the Bulldog football team. Currently, he is the President and CEO of the Leira Group, Inc, a consulting services provider serving the business community. Additionally, he has 20 years of professional experience in human resources where he served companies in the automotive industry such as Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC.

Dr. Taylor Byrd, Jr., Education Alumni Hall inductee, is a native of Greene County. In 1959, he enrolled as a student at Alabama A&M University and earned the Bachelor of Science degree in 1963 with a major in Agricultural Education and General Science. He pursued further graduate studies at Tuskegee University and earned the Master of Science degree in 1969 with a major in agricultural education and extension, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in agricultural education and economics in 1972 from Pennsylvania State University. Byrd began his career in education as a high school science teacher and coach, and an agribusiness instructor in the public school systems of Alabama. Following the attainment of the doctorate degree, he was employed at AAMU as an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Agribusiness Education. Under his leadership as chairman, the programs and the faculty expanded. After serving eight years at the University, he worked within industry and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). At TVA, he was regional manager of minority economic development in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; and regional manager of community diversity development in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1996, Dr. Byrd returned to Alabama A&M University with a three-fold position as TVA liaison and director for distance learning development; director of recruitment and retention; and instructional technology outreach and research professor, Department of Agribusiness, College of Agricultural, Life and Biological Sciences.

Mrs. Georgia Sharp Valrie, the Community Service Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 with a major in sociology and the Master of Science degree in adult and continuing education in 1977, both from Alabama A&M University. In 1983, she earned the Executive Development Program Certificate from Pennsylvania State University. During her tenure as the Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at AAMU, she garnered the respect and admiration of alumni throughout the United States. When Alabama A&M University was the HBCU of the month for the Tom Joyner Foundation in November 2001, she helped raise over $590,000. After serving 31 years of dedicated and exemplary service at AAMU, she retired in August 2003, only to join Technology Management Training Group, Inc, and to serve five years as vice president of outreach programs. She later served as the Director of Development for Union Chapel Christian Academy, establishing the UCCA Foundation to provide financial support for scholarships and to enhance the academic programs. She is and has served as a member of numerous professional, civic and community organizations.

Mr. Langston J. Walker, the Business and Industry Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, is highly recognized among his colleagues, peers and constituents as an extraordinary business man. He has a wealth of experience in accounting, auditing, business and finance, investment and management. Langston is a 1972 honor graduate of Alabama A&M University where he received the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in accounting. He pursued graduate studies at Harvard Graduate School of Business and earned the Master of Business Administration in 1980. Additionally, he holds certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and he was the first AAMU graduate to become a CPA in 1975.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Office of Alumni Affairs, Alabama A&M University, at 256-372-8351.

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