Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni

Current AVBA membership: 3,846

ABVA Events and News

October 07, 2017

AVBA Homecoming Football Game Ticket Block

Short Description

AVBA Homecoming Game Ticket Block

AVBA Scholarship Fund

In October 2009, the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni celebrated its 25th anniversary. Gathered together were alumni whose achievements testified not only to their personal ability and character, but also to the quality of a Vanderbilt education. Our nation and the world need more leaders with such ability, vision and character.

The AVBA seeks a greater role in developing this group of alumni at Vanderbilt through the creation of an undergraduate scholarship. Supporting scholarships strengthens the AVBA’s bonds with Vanderbilt. The association already provides a vital link between black alumni and the university, promoting Vanderbilt while also championing the causes of African American students and organizations on campus.

First AVBA Scholarship Awarded

We are delighted to announce that we awarded the first AVBA scholarship to a first-year student in the Class of 2018! We couldn’t have done this without your help!

However, the journey doesn't end here. We still have work to do. We encourage you to make the AVBA the place where you give back, allowing future students to continue the legacy you helped build. Think about your time at Vanderbilt and what an AVBA scholarship would have meant both financially and figuratively to you. Please consider making a donation to the AVBA Scholarship Fund and help pave the way for our future Commodores.

AVBA Graduates Wall

The AVBA Graduates Wall in the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center is a symbol of the success of African American students who contributed to the Vanderbilt community and earned a degree. All graduating seniors and alumni are encourage to submit their name through the form below so it will be included on the wall by next Homecoming.

Questions? Please email Beth Porter

AVBA Graduates Wall
AVBA Graduates Wall
First Name:
Last Name:
Name While Student (if different):
Vanderbilt Degree Information

First Degree

Vanderbilt School:
Class Year:

Second Degree

Vanderbilt School:
Class Year

Tamara Baynham, BE'93

Dr. Baynham earned her undergraduate degree in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University and her MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a specialization in Cardiac Electrophysiology. She is also a patent agent registered to practice at the United States Patent and Trade Organization. Dr. Baynham has over 15 years of medical device experience in R&D, intellectual property development, and clinical research and currently holds over 30 patents granted by the United States Patent and Trade Organization. She currently serves as a Sr. Field Clinical Engineer at Nevro Corporation. Dr. Baynham is currently president of the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni, a member of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board, the Industrial Advisory Board of the Biological Engineering Department at The University of Georgia, and serves as an ABET Program Evaluator for Biomedical Engineering Programs representing the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

Immediate Past President
Damien Charley, BE'99

Damien currently serves as the Executive Minister of Family Life at Harpeth Christian Church in Franklin, TN. Along with owning his own mortgage company (Team Charley Mortgage) that serves the state of TN, he will serve one term as the past president of the AVBA in assisting Tamara Baynham as the current president.

Damien earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the School of Engineering in 1999 while lettering all 4 years on a full athletic scholarship playing football. He studied abroad at Cambridge University in England and travel around Europe during his final semester at Vanderbilt. His greatest honor was finding & marrying his college sweetheart Christina Penn, BS ’96, who graduated with an education degree also on a full athletic scholarship with the track team. They've been married for 17 years and reside in Franklin, TN with their 4 children.

Scholarship and Philanthropy Chair
Byron King, BE'94

Byron earned his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in 1994 and earned his Master in Finance from Depaul University in 2006. While an undergraduate at Vanderbilt, Byron was a 3 year letterman on the football team and a member of the Theta Beta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Currently, Byron resides in Houston, Texas with his wife Nona, who also graduated from Vanderbilt University, and their two kids. Byron is the Head of Flow Trading at EDF Energy Services; where he has worked for the last 8 years.

Outreach and Communications Chair
Dyanne Gaillard Sykes, BS'86

Dyanne Gaillard Sykes graduated with a Arts and Science degree in Economics in 1987. She worked as a Sales Manager for over 12 years with the Procter and Gamble Company and then stayed home to raise her children. Dyanne and her husband, Kermit Aubrey Sykes, BS ’86, (Football ’82-’86) have been married almost 30 years and have 3 beautiful daughters. Bethany is a Duke University graduate and is currently living in Seattle working at AMAZON as a Brand Specialist. Twins, Katie and Cassidy are freshmen in college. Katie is a freshman at Vanderbilt and Cassidy a freshman at Washington University-St. Louis. Dyanne and Kermit have lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the last 15 years. Kermit just celebrated his 23rd anniversary at Coca Cola Company and Dyanne recently started her own business as a College Admissions Consultant. Dyanne participates in the Commodore Recruitment Programs (CoRPs) as an Alumnus Interviewer for Northwest Arkansas.

University Initiatives Co-Chair
Ghangis Carter, MeD'00

Ghangis D. Carter is Director of the Office of Recruitment and Retention for Underrepresented Students in the Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) School of Education. He is also an advisor-mentor and former instructor with the IUB Hudson & Holland Scholars Program. He also serves on the Groups Scholars Program Advisory Council, Greek Advisory Board as well as co-advisor to the Black Graduate Student Association. For AY 2016-17, Ghangis is the President for Staff of the IUB Black Faculty and Staff Caucus. In fall 2016, he was appointed as a board member of the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni. Ghangis was born in Los Angeles and was reared, survived and thrived in Compton, Calif. He earned a B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations from San Diego State University, M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and is completing his Ph.D. in the Higher Education and Student Affairs/Counseling at the IUB School of Education. Click here for more information.

University Initiatives Co-Chair
Rosevelt Noble, BS'97, PhD'03

Originally from Kankakee, Illinois, Rosevelt Noble attended Vanderbilt University as a student from 1994 through 2003. In 1997, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Sociology and Human & Organizational Development. In 2003, he completed a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in Sociology with a dissertation entitled, Race Matters: Black Rage in the American Prison System. A scholar of the American criminal justice system, he has publications pertaining to the interracial dynamics of prison violence, racial disparities in incarceration sentences, and he is currently working on a publication examining racial bias in the jury selection process in capital punishment cases. He has worked as a quantitative research consultant for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, the Federal Prosecutors Office, and several law firms.
In the fall of 2002, he started teaching in the Vanderbilt Sociology Department as a Senior Lecturer while simultaneously working at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission as the Director of the Workforce Investment Act. After leaving state government in 2014, he continued teaching at Vanderbilt and became a Senior Fellow at The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt.
In 2007, he married Dr. Kristen Noble (Carter); Vanderbilt class of 2003. She is currently a resident in pediatrics at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. In July 2017, she will begin the Fellowship Program in Neonatology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They have two beautiful children, Jordan Noble and Rosevelt Noble III. Currently, they reside in Cordova, Tennessee.

Programming Co-Chair
Geoff Hutchinson, BA'10

Geoff currently serves as the Operations Manager for NYDesigns, an economic development program of the City University of New York (CUNY) at LaGuardia Community College that catalyzes growth for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the design, fabrication, technology and maker spaces, located in Long Island City, NY. Prior to that, he worked as a political strategy consultant for Tusk Strategies, a high profile political strategy firm, where he devised campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, nonprofit organizations, and interest and trade groups. Geoff graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Geoff also serves on the executive board for the Metro New York City Vanderbilt Alumni Chapter.

Programming Co-Chair
Valerie Williams, BE'95