Trailblazer Awards Recipient Sonya Henderson - Female ball player/International Recording artist/Singer/Song Writer/Rapper and Basketball Coach

Congratulations Keeva Jackson-Breland & Sonya E Henderson! Legendary Demon Deacons Honored as Trailblazer Award Recipients 
As the first Black scholarship female athletes at Wake Forest, the University will honor Sonya Henderson and Keeva Jackson-Breland as Trailblazer Award winners on the weekend of October 27-29.

After developing the Robert Grant and Kenneth "Butch" Henry Trailblazer Award in 2021, Wake Forest will celebrate and honor Sonya E Henderson and Keeva Jackson-Breland this fall (October 27-29) as the University’s next Trailblazer Award honorees.
Henderson and Jackson-Breland were the first Black scholarship female athletes at Wake Forest, playing on the women’s basketball team during the mid-1980s. This award was named in honor of the first Black football student-athletes to enroll at a Division I institution in the South – Robert Grant and Kenneth “Butch” Henry.
Women’s basketball alumni and interested members of our community who would like more information about this weekend or want to attend the special ceremony on Friday, Oct. 27, please contact Assistant Director of Donor Engagement April Bass ( / 336-758-2588). 
Wake Forest encourages all fans to read these profiles of these trailblazing Demon Deacons:
“Wake Forest University has many pioneers and trailblazers, but two very special people to our community and well-deserved recipients of our Trailblazer Award are Keeva Jackson-Breland and Sonya E Henderson,” director of athletics John Currie said. “Being the first two Black female student-athletes at Wake Forest took tremendous courage and faith that their teammates, coaches and our University leadership and the Winston-Salem community would offer steady support during their time on our Reynolda campus. So many people played significant roles in their time at Wake Forest, but I want to recognize Dot Casey, Dr. Herman Eure, Wanda Briley, Lori Bailey and many others who were instrumental in bringing these two extraordinary women to Wake Forest and helping them find success during their time here. Their character, abilities, talents and fortitude allowed them to persevere and mark trails for future female student-athletes of color at Wake Forest. 
“When we held the ceremony for Robert Grant and Kenneth "Butch" Henry in Nov. 2021, it was extremely special to bring together so many alums and members of our community as Bob was able to join us for that important weekend. Remember, Bob and Butch were the first Black football student-athletes to enroll at a Division I institution in the South, joining the Wake Forest family in the fall of 1964. We are proud that this award, the Robert Grant and Kenneth "Butch" Henry Trailblazer Award, ranks among Wake Forest's signature honors, such as the Arnold Palmer, Marge Crisp and Ron & Linda Wellman Life Teammate Awards.
“We look forward to celebrating Keeva and Sonya in a few weeks at the end of October and telling their stories through our platforms and utilizing the FSU football game to help amplify this incredible narrative.”
Award Information
The Robert Grant and Kenneth "Butch" Henry Trailblazer Award was created to recognize the significance of the first Black football players at Wake Forest University and the historical role Wake Forest Athletics played in integrating Division I sports in the South. Being the first Black football players took Courage to take to the field on behalf of their teammates and the Wake Forest community, despite the risks. It took deep Faith to believe that their teammates, the coaching staff, and the Wake Forest community would offer steady support during critical times. As Transformational leaders, it took Trusting in their abilities, talents and tremendous fortitude to persevere, that would set trails, often not traveled, ablaze, lighting the way and leaving paths of success for all of the athletes yet to come in the south. Hence, this award celebrates Wake Forest student-athletes, alumni, staff and community members who have blazed trails in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and other important social issues that better the lives of others in the Pro Humanitate tradition that is the central spirit of Wake Forest University.
Award Recipients
Trailblazer Award Committee 
Phil Barnhill
  • Barnhill, a former quarterback for the Demon Deacons and class of 1991 graduate, is Vice President of East Greensboro NOW, a community development corporation focused on economic development in eastern Greensboro. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is the Chief Volunteer Officer for the YMCA of Greensboro. 
Steve Bowden
  • Bowden, a former Wake Forest student athlete in football and 1972 graduate of Wake Forest, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the top civilian honor bestowed by governors of North Carolina, in 2001. An attorney based in Greensboro, Bowden has served on numerous educational boards, including the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and NC A&T State University Board of Trustees. He is a former member of the Wake Forest Alumni Council and chaired the council’s Education Committee. 
Dr. Janice Collins
  • Wake Forest’s first ever All-ACC player in women’s basketball, Dr. Collins was inducted as an ACC Tournament Legend by the conference in 2015. After graduation from Wake Forest in 1986, Collins embarked on an illustrious career in journalism, working primarily as a broadcast news producer, winning multiple Emmy, Best of Gannett, Associated Press and National Association of Black Journalist awards during her career. She currently works on Inclusion measures and SDG goals across the globe as President of World Changers Media International Foundation.
Tracy Connor-Riddick
  • A 2015 Wake Forest Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Connor-Riddick was a standout on the hardwood for the Deacs from 1993-1997. A first-team All-ACC selection in 1996, she ranks among the top 10 in program history in career scoring average, rebounding average, field goal percentage and free throw attempts, and led the Demon Deacons in both scoring and rebounding in each of her four seasons. After graduating from Wake Forest in 1996, she later earned her degree as a Physician's Assistant from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. 
Arin Dunn
  • A veteran collegiate athletics leader who has created great relationships with student-athletes, coaches and staff throughout his career, Dunn was named Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Development and Administration in June of 2022. As a member of the Demon Deacons' senior staff, Dunn will also serve as Wake Athletics' chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and lead student-athlete focused efforts in Name Image and Likeness (NIL) and career development.  
Dr. Herman Eure
  • Eure, a Professor of Biology at Wake Forest, was Wake Forest’s first full-time Black graduate student, first Black doctoral recipient on Reynolda Campus and the first Black full-time faculty member. On Feb. 16, 2017, Eure was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Medallion of Merit, for his contributions in the classroom and in the community during his career. In April of 2017, he was elected to Wake Forest’s Board of Trustees, the first faculty member in modern times to serve in that role. 
Barry Faircloth
  • Faircloth joined Wake Forest Athletics in 2002 and currently serves as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and Sales, where he manages the development operation, ticket sales team and other revenue areas including IMG and Tailgate Guys. A 1993 Wake Forest graduate, Faircloth has managed various external areas including development, ticket operations, gift accounting, marketing and media relations. 
Cynthia Kelley
  • A former basketball and track student-athlete at Wake Forest, Kelley currently serves as the Vice President of Equitable Advisors, a finance and investment advisory firm in High Point, N.C. She has provided financial planning advice and workshops to countless local organizations, including the North Carolina A&T Foundation and the Winston Salem State University Foundation. She has a passion for improving the racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the financial industry, and is active in hiring candidates from Wake Forest’s and Winston-Salem State’s finance departments.
Dwight Lewis
  • Lewis, a long-time staff member for Wake Forest athletics, currently serves as the Associate Athletic Director, Community and Alumni Relations. Lewis received the Mike Ford Servant Leadership Community Award from the university in 2020 in recognition of his leadership in providing service opportunities for student athletes in the spirit of Pro Humanitate. 
Roxann Moody
  • As the Assistant AD, Equipment Services, Moody manages all equipment personnel as well as equipment needs for all Wake Forest varsity sports. Moody began working in Wake Forest Athletics in 1982, having earned her B.A. in sociology from the school that same year. She assisted David "Sarge" Tinga as a women's basketball student manager during her time as a women's basketball student-athlete and she continued as Tinga's assistant until his retirement in 2002. 
Gil McGregor
  • McGregor, a former standout on the hardwood for Wake Forest, was the first Black athlete to sign with a Big Four school in basketball in 1968. Graduating from Wake Forest in 1971, McGregor went on to play professionally in the NBA and overseas, before returning to his alma mater as an academic advisor for student athletes. He later transitioned his career to broadcasting, where he was a long-time analyst for the TV broadcasts of the Charlotte and New Orleans Hornets.
Bill Overton
  • Overton, a former football student-athlete for the Deacs, graduated from Wake Forest in 1968. He played professionally in both the NFL and the CFL, before transitioning into a successful acting career, starring in TV shows such as The New Perry Mason, Firehouse and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He published his first book, The Media: Shaping an Image of a People, in 2002. 
Jody Puckett
  • Puckett, a 1970 graduate of Wake Forest, is long-time supporter of Wake Forest Athletics, dating back to his time as an student assistant trainer under the legendary long-time Demon Deacon athletic trainer Doc Martin as an undergraduate. He stayed in Winston-Salem after his graduation, rarely missing a home game in the ensuing decades while serving the community as an insurance agent. 
Kevin Smith
  • Smith currently serves as a Regional Director for Development in Wake Forest Athletics, with a focus on Football Alumni Engagement. A former football student-athlete for the Deacs and 2000 graduate from Reynolda Campus, Smith previously served as a Community Director for the City of Raleigh for a decade before returning to his alma mater. 
Barbara Walker
  • Walker joined Wake Forest Athletics as Associate AD/SWA in the fall of 1999 in a newly established role overseeing all of the department's 16 Olympic sport programs before retiring in 2020. As sport administrator, Walker was part of six national championship teams (three NCAA Field Hockey, one NCAA Men's Soccer, one NCAA Men's Tennis, one ITA Men's Tennis).