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Sankofa, ALAA Make a Weekend of It

Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Actor and alum Gary DeWitt Marshall III will return to campus for the Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association (ALAA) Weekend on March 27 and 28, when he will provide a special performance of his one-man show, "Humor Aint Always Funny... Dammitt!!!" during the Angel Bonnie Baker '82 Charity Ball. This is the first time both the ALAA Weekend and the Charity Ball have been coordinated to occur together.

"We wanted to increase the number of alums involved with the ball this year," explains Innis Baah '10, a member of Sankofa. "ALAA worked with us to move its annual weekend event from April to October to coincide with the ball and enable more alums to enjoy both." The Ball is sponsored by Sankofa and ALAA.

According to "Skip" Darden '87, president of ALAA, once they found out the Charity Ball was planned for March 28, it was a no-brainer.

"When we found out the ball was scheduled for the weekend prior to the one we had planned for the ALAA weekend, it made good sense to maximize the number of alums on campus around such a nostalgic and important event as the charity ball."

Another goal of the ALAA weekend is to launch fundraising efforts for the Henderson/Collins Scholarship Funds, and a portion of proceeds from the ball will support the funds. The Dean James Henderson '75 Award of Merit is given to a student of color who embodies the spirit of Henderson and his love of learning and athletics. The Lillian E. Collins Distinguished Service Award is given to a student of color who has demonstrated commitment to the Geneva community through service and leadership. Fittingly, the Charity Ball will also support the HWS alternative spring break service trip to Nicaragua.

Marshall was originally scheduled to read from his new book, "Cry Now Laugh L8ter: Thoughts, Reflections and Musings" during an October 2008 visit, and will now perform his show and have the book available during the ball.

He calls his show a tribute to the late Jim Henderson '75, a former assistant dean at Hobart, to whom he also dedicated his book.

"I'm dedicating the show to Jim Henderson because he was instrumental during my time as a Hobart student; I credit him with the fact that I was able to earn my degree," explains Marshall. "Mr. Henderson was able to guide me through the culture shock I experienced as a student ‘unprepared' for college life or the academic rigors of an institution like HWS."

Marshall graduated from Hobart in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in sociology and went on to attend the University of Albany, where he was introduced to professional theatre. He has worked in theatre locally, nationally and internationally and has been featured in such films as The Hurricane, Renaissance Man, Love Walked In, Still Water, and Game Day. On television, Marshall has appeared in a number of commercials for a wide range of products and has guest starred on programs such as "ER," "24," "The Guardian," and "Unsolved Mysteries." On Broadway, Marshall originated the role of "Freedom Fighter" Michael Dube in the Tony nominated drama "The Song of Jacob Zulu."

The Charity Ball will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 28 in the Vandervort Room. Tickets are $25 for non-students, $20 for students and are being sold in the College Store, through Sankofa members and via tabling in the Scandling Campus Center on Wednesdays. Online registration is also available.

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