Dr. Cynthia Nicholson receives Alpha Kappa Alpha Regional Award

Published 10:28 am Monday, June 26, 2017

By Amanda Bradshaw Sharpe
University Relations


Dr. Cynthia Nicholson recently received the Evelyn Reid Syphax Creative Expression Award for Outstanding Graduate Writer. | Contributed Photo

Dr. Nicholson serves as the president of the Lambda Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She is also the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Chair of the Department of Language and Literature, and an Associate Professor of English at Chowan University.

She received her PhD in English Education from Arizona State University, Master of Arts in English from Old Dominion University, Master of Science in education from Old Dominion University, and Bachelor of Arts in English from Newberry College. She has received the Alpha Chi Teacher of the Year Award twice, and Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award during her tenure at Chowan University.

The Evelyn Reid Syphax Award is named after the tenth Mid Atlantic Regional Director of the Zeta Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Syphax, who passed in 2000, is known for her social activism. In 1963, recognizing there were no pre-schools for African American children in Arlington, VA, Syphax and her husband opened the Syphax Child Care Center. When filling out the application, Syphax was required to select what race the center would serve. She wrote in international. She wanted the center to be available to all children. In 1965, Syphax and her husband formed the first Montessori School program in Arlington, VA. She was a teacher for 25 years.

When Syphax could not find a local chapter of a predominantly black sorority in Northern Virginia, she created one. She utilized the sorority to raise money for food and clothing for the needy, and to give scholarships to African-American children.

Dr. Nicholson was honored in the name of Evelyn Reid Syphax as the Alpha Kappa Alpha Outstanding Graduate Writer.