I have personally witnessed how catastrophic these can be in Ghana’s western region.
Bronx, NY (Vocus) April 18, 2008
A tradition of giving back continued last night at Bronx Community College, when alumna Vikki L. Pryor, president and CEO of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc, awarded the 10th Marie Nesbitt Promise Prize to BCC student Kojo Wallace.
Kojo Wallace, a liberal arts/sciences major from Ghana, West Africa is no stranger to achievement. He is the third of five children who are all in college with the exception of the youngest, a four year-old, who is still in Ghana. “In Ghana I was exposed to many different cultures and was raised to be open to, and accepting of, these differences. My experiences in the U.S. have only reinforced this outlook,” says Kojo. Additionally, my mother always taught me to excel in everything I do; not to be the best, but to excel. I bring these experiences and lessons into everything I do.”
Wallace is currently the President of BCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, a member of the BCC Ambassadors Program, maintains a 4.0 GPA, speaks two Ghanaian dialects in addition to English, and is actively involved in volunteer work and tutoring. He was also recently chosen for the 18th Annual All-USA Community College Academic First Team, at the Conference of the American Association of Community Colleges, which is sponsored by USA Today. Wallace plays acoustic guitar and soccer in his spare time.
But its Wallace’s hard work and dedication—to a cause beyond his own achievement—that is so inspiring. He helps in the fight against pollutants in land and water that are created by the distribution of heavy metals. “I have personally witnessed how catastrophic these can be in Ghana’s western region.” Wallace also has aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon. Upon graduating in June he will study medicine, but will not leave his experiences behind; “BCC has been a family to me. I have been exposed to people from different backgrounds and I have been given academic opportunities that will no doubt affect my progress in the U.S. The eagerness of professors to be involved with students has encouraged me in my research and acquisition of leadership skills.”
According to Pryor, Wallace is “an obvious choice for the award. His determination to help others is what sets him apart from peers of his caliber. His profound influence is evident already.”
The $5,000 Promise Prize will be given annually to either one or two BCC students of African-American descent, who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and professional promise. The award is intended for use toward study abroad. Pryor created the award in 2002 in memory of her grandmother, Marie Nesbitt, a great granddaughter of slaves whose formal education stopped at the third grade. Having lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, Ms. Nesbitt was an inspiration to everyone with whom she came in contact. The intent is to foster a legacy of giving in support of young people working to achieve their dreams.
Pryor is an alumna of BCC and today serves as the President and CEO of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc., with locations in Newark, NJ, New York, NY, Glendale, CA, Buffalo, NY, Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and Chicago, IL. Pryor has led a diverse workforce of over 200 employees since 1999 in an effort to provide affordable and accessible life insurance to people in middle income brackets. SBLI USA serves families and individuals nationwide.
More about SBLI USA/S.USA:
SBLI USA markets a wide range of life insurance products to value-conscious consumers and diverse markets. The Company is dedicated to building lifelong relationships with customers and empowering them with the education and tools they need to take control of their financial destinies. For more information visit http://www.sbliusa.com.
SBLI USA and its subsidiaries are licensed in 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With more than $16.7 billion of insurance in force, $1.5 billion in assets, $124 million in surplus capital, 200 associates and over 300,000 policyholders, the company is committed to offering affordable, flexible and easy-to-access products through a variety of integrated channels, including direct mail, telemarketing, a bilingual Web site, licensed agents, and new Customer Centers, as it expands nationally.
SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. is the parent company to SBLI USA Holdings, Inc., which owns subsidiary companies S.USA Life Insurance Company, Inc., and SBLI USA Diversified Services Company, Inc.