The Arch of Triumph Gala is in just its seventh year. But the event it celebrates – the founding of Johnson C. Smith University – is considerably more storied: 2015 marks the school’s 148th anniversary. Founded in 1867, the university, part of HBCU (Historic Black Colleges and Universities), has been ranked several times by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best colleges in the South.
The gala took place April 11 at the Charlotte Convention Center and included dinner, dancing, entertainment and an awards ceremony. Hundreds of graduates and supporters of all ages gathered to show their pride. Former students enjoyed getting to see the new crop of scholars: The gala’s emcees were students Stephen Graddick and Mireya Esquivel. Students also introduced honorees, including Noluthando Excelentia Dlomo, a student from South Africa who charmed the audience while introducing honoree Sarah Stevenson, the first African-American woman to serve on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board and the woman behind the university’s Sarah and Sammy Stevenson Endowed Scholarship Fund.
To see all the photos from the gala, go to www.charlotteobserver.com/style.