HAMPTON, Va. (August 27, 2018) — Hampton University alumni gathered in Florida the first weekend in August to celebrate a common bond – their love and support of their alma mater, Hampton University.
The 38th Annual Hampton Ladies’ Luncheon was held August 3-4, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over 200 ladies attended this year’s event where one alumna introduced a brand new endeavor for an Endowed Scholarship that will be named in honor of the 12 women who first started this annual luncheon and will be given to young women beginning their college journey at Hampton University.
The Hampton Ladies’ Luncheon first began in 1979 when a small group of Hampton women from the Class of 1954 wanted to create an opportunity for members of their class to connect. The group met in the home of Dolores Rayfield and decided to host a luncheon. After a few months of planning, the first official Hampton Ladies’ Luncheon was held at the White Flint Mall in Rockville, Md., with 12 women in attendance. These women will live on with the creation of this new Endowed Scholarship.
Rinita H. Williams (c/o 1990) introduced the creation of the Endowed Scholarship, which once fully established will be available to donate to on the Hampton University website. Proceeds from a raffle at the luncheon were the first donation to go towards the scholarship and was presented to Dr. Joan Wickham, Assistant Director of Hampton University Alumni Affairs. “I had a wonderful time with Dr. Joan Wickham of Hampton University Alumni Affairs as I presented her with the proceeds from our 50/50 raffle for the Hampton Ladies’ Luncheon Endowment Scholarship, initiated by the Fort Lauderdale Chapter,” said Rinita H. Williams, Hampton University alumna. “We are honored to be the first and making history!”
Dr. Joan Wickham (c/o 1978), Assistant Director of Hampton University Alumni Affairs, has been attending this luncheon for many years. She is involved with helping the Endowed Scholarship get started and spoke at the Luncheon about giving back. “It’s our responsibility to give back to the University and I always believe that we aren’t here on our own, we’re on somebody else’s bootstraps, and to me, we are obligated to reach back and let somebody else be on our bootstraps, no matter how much or how less it is, do something to give back so students have an opportunity to experience what we experience at Hampton University,” Dr. Wickham said.
On the first night of the annual luncheon, the ladies held a “White Night” Reception where every attendee wore white and the Honorable Commissioner Robert L. McKinzie welcomed and spoke to the crowd. The Luncheon itself was held on the following day with a welcome address, prayer & blessings, lunch and recognition of the Original Hampton Ladies, Class of 1954, recognition of classes and the 2018 Planning Committee.
Next year’s Luncheon is already being planned and will take place in Philadelphia. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/2017HamptonLadiesLuncheon/.
Here is a list of the original 12 women who started the first Hampton Ladies’ Luncheon:
- Cherry D. Blackwell ‘54
- Faye Dunn ‘54
- Daisy Gaither ‘54
- Adele D. Harris ‘54
- Cleo Hedgepeth ‘54
- Evelyn M. Perry ‘54
- Jacqueline P. Keene ‘54
- Bessie Session ‘54
- Eleanor Taylor ‘54
- Arleen D. Winfield ‘54
- Willette Warner ‘54
- Helen Patterson ‘54
- Dolores Rayfield ’56 – the first informal gathering was held in her home