Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement hosted a benefit concert featuring award-winning singer and stage, television and film actress Vanessa Williams ’85, at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Manhattan. Proceeds will benefit the ‘Our Time Has Come’ Vanessa Williams Scholarship supporting Black and Latino students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the music charts, Broadway, television and motion pictures.
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“We are thrilled to have Ms. Williams perform for our inaugural OTHC Benefit Concert, which raises money for the Vanessa Williams Scholarship Fund,” says Assistant Vice President Rachel Vassel Class of ’91. “This kind of fundraiser is a great way to showcase the world class talent that comes out of Syracuse University, to engage our amazing alumni and to support students of color with an unmet financial need. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Vanessa Williams, gained recognition as the first African-American recipient of the Miss America title when she was crowned Miss America 1984. Williams returned to the Miss America Pageant in 2015 as the head judge and special performer – receiving an apology from the organization for the events that took place in 1984. Williams persevered with a successful career in the entertainment industry. She is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations.
In 2007, she achieved a career pinnacle, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her accomplishments as a performer with Music, Stage, Film and TV. The International Foreign Press Academy named her the recipient of the 2010 Mary Pickford Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. Williams, and her mother Helen Williams, co-authored the New York Times bestseller You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), published in 2013.
Williams showed the crowd why she’s simply a world class performer. Guests enjoyed some of her greatest hits including, “Colors of the Wind“, “Dreamin“, “Work to Do” and “Save the Best for Last”. The evening was an amazing full circle moment as she highlighted her Alma Mater and talked about hard work to success. “The scholarship offers them financial support in addition to leadership and mentoring programs and allows them to get the support they need to graduate,” says Williams. “We’ve got over 50 students this year, and we’re hoping to grow to 100 scholarship recipients.”
The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University is committed to the education of cultural leaders who will engage and inspire audiences through performance, visual art, design, scholarship, and commentary. We provide the tools for self-discovery and risk-taking in an environment that thrives on critical thought and action. www.vpa.syr.edu
Photo Credit: Giles Toucas