NEW ORLEANS, May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) will induct eight new Club alumni into their Alumni Hall of Fame in a ceremony tonight in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs around the country have provided kids and teens of all backgrounds with the opportunity to grow and realize their dreams including these eight inductees, who have excelled to the top of their fields.
The ceremony will be hosted by actor and Club alum Courtney B. Vance, and will honor alumni who have gone on from their Boys & Girls Club to make major contributions in their professions from sports to entertainment to business. While their stories are different, all started out the same – with the life-changing programs, caring staff and the fun, safe environment of a Boys & Girls Club.
BGCA's Alumni Hall of Fame "Class of 2016" inductees include the following: Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association, Katrina M. Adams; President of Louisiana State University, F. King Alexander; Chief Financial Officer of Anthem Inc., Wayne DeVeydt; Head Coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, Alvin Gentry; Professional drummer, Jim Keltner; Professional model, Damaris Lewis; retired NBA player, Willie Naulls; and Comedian, JB Smoove.
"Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Alumni Hall of Fame recipients represent the pinnacle of the Boys & Girls Clubs experience – proving that you can achieve your dreams with caring mentors and a safe place to grow and learn," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. "It's critical that we continue to encourage all kids and teens to pursue their dreams and it's our duty to inspire the youth we serve to achieve a great future. We are honored to welcome this outstanding new class of successful Club alumni."
More background on this year's inductees:
Katrina M. Adams, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association:
This Chicago native made history as the first African-American, first former pro tennis player, and youngest to serve as USTA Chairman, CEO and President in the organization's 134 year history. Adams also serves as the Executive Director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program in New York City. She is a two-time NCAA All-American and helped the Northwestern University Wildcats capture back-to-back Big 10 tennis championship in 1986 and 1987. Adams also became the first African-American to win a NCAA doubles champion in 1987. She went on to play 12 years as a professional on the Women's Tennis Association tour, ranking as high as No. 67 in the world in singles and No. 8 in doubles, capturing 20 career doubles titles.
F. King Alexander, President of Louisiana State University
Alexander was named president of Louisiana State University in 2013. Previously, he served as president of California State University, Long Beach. An internationally respected expert in higher education finance and public policy, Alexander frequently publishes in national journals and for organizations in this field. He also works to facilitate new federal legislation on behalf of all public higher education institutions. He has served as a reviewer, an editorial board member, and a university instructor and faculty member, teaching courses in higher education finance, law, history and current events.
Wayne DeVeydt, Chief Financial Officer of Anthem Inc.
DeVeydt has been a leader and integral contributor to Anthem's success since 2005. As chief financial officer, he oversees financial operations for over $74 billion in annual revenues. Exceptionally skilled in planning, developing, supervising and implementing business strategies that achieve optimum productivity and cost efficiency, DeVeydt was voted Best Managed Care CFO for 2008, 2011 and 2012 by Institutional Investor. He serves on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and also on the BGCA National Board of Governors. An active leader in his community, DeVeydt has served as a board member for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
Alvin Gentry, Head Coach of the New Orleans Pelicans
Gentry began his coaching career at the college level, which includes serving as assistant coach for the 1988 NCAA National Champion University of Kansas. In 1989, he joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach. Following similar stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, Gentry was named Detroit Pistons' head coach in 1998. He later served as head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, leading the Suns to a career-high 54 wins and the 2009-10 Western Conference Finals. Last year, Gentry claimed his first NBA Championship as associate head coach for the Golden State Warriors.
Jim Keltner, Professional drummer
Best known for his session work on solo recordings by former Beatles George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, Keltner's amazing music career has seen him play drums for such disparate legends as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Gillian Welch, Pink Floyd, Fiona Apple, Roy Orbison, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, The Ramones, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams and many, many others. His style melds deceptively simple drumming patterns and a loose, casual feel with extraordinary precision, as heard on songs including "Jealous Guy" by John Lennon, "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright and "Josie" by Steely Dan."
Damaris Lewis, Professional model
Damaris was just 13 years old when a model scout saw her perform with a Brooklyn dance company. While she soon signed her first modeling contract, Damaris so enjoyed studying dance at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, she only accepted modeling assignments during school breaks. Now 25, Damaris' ultra-successful career includes appearances in magazines such as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, French Marie Claire and Essence, as well as campaigns for L'Oreal, Mac, Victoria's Secret, Nike and Yves Saint Laurent. Damaris continues to support Boys & Girls Clubs, including mentoring participants in the program SMART Girls. She also volunteers with Project Sunshine, which provides educational, recreational and social programs to children with medical challenges.
Willie Naulls, retired NBA player
As a San Pedro High School student, Naulls was named California Mr. Basketball in 1952. After an All-American career at UCLA, he became an All-Star for the New York Knicks and the first African-American captain of a major professional sports team. He spent his final three seasons with the Boston Celtics and won three championships. After retiring in 1966 with 11,305 points and 6,508 rebounds, Naulls went on to a successful business career before being called to the ministry. Willie Naulls Ministries teaches young people hope and promotes awareness of the importance of academic, physical and spiritual achievement.
JB Smoove, Comedian
When he became a stand-up comic, Jerry Brooks took his initials as his first name and made "Smoove" his surname. As JB Smoove, he has been regularly featured on hit TV shows like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Everybody Hates Chris." He also worked as a writer for "Saturday Night Live," and, in 2007, received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy/Variety Series. His film credits include, "Mr. Deeds," "Date Night," "Hall Pass," "We Bought a Zoo" and "Clear History." His first televised comedy special, "JB Smoove: That's How I Dooz It," premiered on Comedy Central in 2012.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America estimates that there are nearly 16 million living Club Alumni. To learn more and join Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni & Friends Club go to www.bgcalum.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
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SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America