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Alumni Awards

Alumni Distinguished Service Award

Delores Johnson Hurt '68

Delores Johnson Hurt '68

The Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizes Winthrop alumni who significantly contribute to the quality of life in their community, the development of values and morals within others and who serve as outstanding citizens. Delores Johnson Hurt ’68 is one of four alumnae who are the 2017 recipients of this award.

Hurt is a civil rights, journalistic and entrepreneurial trailblazer with professional experience as a news reporter/anchor, non-profit administrator, business owner and educator.

She came to Winthrop as the first African-American student accepted into the college and finished in 1968 as the first black undergraduate with honors. Her four-year stay was funded by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Hurt attuned herself well at Winthrop: she was a marshal, vice-president of the school’s Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and was named to Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, along with other honors.

Following graduation, Hurt attended the University of Nice in France on a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship and during breaks from school traveled throughout Europe and North Africa.  She continued her education by earning an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.

Early in her career, Hurt worked as a journalist in New York City at radio stations WRVR and WBAI, The National Black Network and the CBS Radio Network.  She also wrote articles for the “Black Enterprise” and “Encore American and World-wide News” magazines in New York. Returning to the South, she taught journalism at Benedict College and was hired as only the second African-American journalist to work at WIS Radio, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, S.C.
 
Hurt founded Nefertiti, Inc., a non-profit arts organization that brought Broadway plays to South Carolina. She also served on the executive committee of the Columbia Chapter of the NAACP, and on the boards of the Richland County Township Auditorium and the City of Columbia Action Council. Hurt worked at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, providing scholarships to doctoral candidates, and co-owned a restaurant in Key West, Fla., and a wholesale bakery, “Anne’s Simply Delicious Cakes and Pastries,” in Columbia, S.C.

When Hurt moved to Charlotte, N.C., she returned to her first love, French language and culture, and taught high school students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Because of her civic activities in Charlotte, Hurt was inducted into the Women’s History Hall of Fame at the Levine Museum of the New South in 2011.

As Winthrop approached its 125-year anniversary in 2011, Hurt urged the university to acknowledge its desegregation in the 1960s, in which Hurt and others took part. In 2014, the university produced a well-received celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the university.
 
Hurt retired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in 2012 and joined the League of Women Voters Charlotte Mecklenburg two years later. In 2016, she became, and continues as president - only the second African American to lead the organization in its nearly 100-year history. She shares life in Charlotte with daughter Vashti L. Hurt.

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