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2017 Torch Award Honorees

 

A. Ronald Berryman

Presidential Award

 

Ron Berryman was raised in South Central Los Angeles by a single parent and became the first in his family to graduate from college in 1962.  Shortly after being the first African American to graduate from Pepperdine’s inaugural MBA program in 1967, he became one of three partners in what would become one of the largest minority-owned management consulting firms in the United States based in Los Angeles with offices in Washington, DC, and Omaha, Nebraska.

 

Ron Berryman currently holds several distinguished professional designations and today with more than 40 years of experience, he continues his practice as a certified management consultant.  He currently serves as principal of Berryman and Company, a consulting firm in the financial and management areas. 

 

Despite his demanding practice and unforgiving schedule. Ron Berryman 

makes time to give back.  His spare time is spent serving on policy-making and advisory boards, including past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Division of the March of Dimes, and the Los Angeles Executive Advisory Council for the United Negro College Fund.  He currently sits on the Pepperdine University Board, the Graziadio School of Business and Management Board of Visitors and was a founding member of the Pepperdine University Alumni Leadership Council.

 

Now Chairman Emeritus, Berryman was the first Chairman of the Pepperdine Black Alumni Council (BAC) that he organized in 2010.  He remains active in the council and committed to raising funds to help minority and low-income students through college.  He not only mentors students and helps them get accepted into college, but he and his wife Jacqueline Berryman funded the A. Ronald Berryman Endowed Scholarship for African American students pursuing an MBA degree at Pepperdine University. 

 

While Pepperdine holds a special place in Berryman’s heart, he demonstrates a strong commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for today’s youth by supporting several other charitable programs, as well.  He provides scholarships to the Kappa League of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  He is a supporter of the Mount Carmel Foundation, the Delta Sigma Pi Foundation, the Kappa Foundation, the Crespi Carmelite Educational Fund, and the Boule Foundation where he is a William B. Dubois Fellow.

 

In recognition of his leadership and other achievements, Berryman has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University and the Institute of Management Consultants Leadership Award.  He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Business and Finance. 

Julius Robinson

Corporate Citizen of the Year

With 37 years in the banking industry, Mr. Julius E. Robinson has been Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas at MUFG Union Bank, N.A. since September 2014 and serves as its Managing Director.  Mr. Robinson has managed Union Bank's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities on the West Coast. In this expanded role, he has the responsibility for company-wide strategy and programs in the United States, Latin America and Canada, including charitable giving, community outreach, environmental ... stewardship, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance and investment, and supplier diversity. He oversees the government relations activities and the MUFG Union Bank Foundation, the nonprofit entity that acts as the agent for the bank's charitable contributions.

 

Mr. Robinson received his Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations and economics from the United States International University at San Diego

and Mexico City and completed the Pacific Coast Banking School program at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He also holds a Certificate of Practice in Corporate Community Involvement from Boston College Carroll School of Management.

 

Julius is well-known and respected for his unwavering commitment to community involvement.  Earlier this year, he received congressional recognition for his work in the field of corporate social responsibility and his dedication to the Filipino-American community.  Mr. Robinson received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Educating Young Minds.  His accomplishments also include receiving the Corporate Philanthropy Achievement Award from the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation and being given awarded the Community Leadership Award from the California Journal for Filipino Americans.  He is chairman of Operation HOPE's Northwest Board of Directors and the Alliant International University Board of Trustees. He is also on the boards of Students Rising Above, the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD), Bay Area Black United Fund, and the Oakland Education Fund.  

 

It has been said by those that work with Julius, no matter how successful he’s become over the years, he NEVER forgets where he comes from and he remains grounded in who he is and the importance of giving back.

Dominica Robbins Wilson

Counselor of the Year

Dominica Robbins –Wilson is the College Counselor at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles.  A proud product of Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Wilson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Educational Counseling.  She’s been an educator for over 16 years and while she began her career teaching biology, several years later, she realized her passion for helping students extended far beyond the classroom.  Her students are comfortable talking with her because she shows genuine concern for her them.  These heart-felt interactions with students furthered her interest in pursuing a career as a School Counselor.

 

As a counselor, Ms. Wilson focuses entirely on helping her students with college and career readiness, as well as personal and social development. She reinforces the importance of having “helping hearts” with her students.   Her positive and nurturing spirit is felt throughout her school community and she treats her students like family.  

Ms. Wilson once drove a student to college for freshman orientation.  She furnished the dorm room for that student because the parent was financially unable. That student graduated from the University of California San Diego in May 2016 and is now attending graduate school at Spelman in Atlanta.

 

Over the years, Ms. Wilson continues to remain involved in the lives of several of her former students.  Her passion for education and her students is unmatched.  She leads, educates, and counsels with heart, passion and soul. 

Family of the Year 

The Harvey Family

The Harvey Family is the epitome of hope, courage, perseverance and love.  In 2008, at the age of 2, Zion Harvey developed sepsis, a life-threatening infection that attacked his entire body and eventually required amputation of both of his hands and his legs below the knee. The infection also damaged Zion’s kidneys and two years later, he underwent an organ transplant, receiving a kidney from his mother, Pattie Ray.

Despite this rocky start, in the years that followed Zion grew strong and healthy. He received prosthetics for his feet, and was able to walk, run and jump with complete independence.  A happy and outgoing child, he learned to adapt well to life without hands, learning to eat, write and even play video games with his residual limbs. He figured out ways to perform most of the activities other kids his age could do.

In 2012, Pattie brought 6 year-old Zion, to Philadelphia Shriners Hospitals for Children to explore fitting Zion with prosthetic hands, but the doctors had something else in mind – a life-changing operation, what would be the world’s first hand transplant!

In 2015, after a 10-hour surgery with a team of 40 medical professionals, Zion Harvey became the first pediatric bilateral hand transplant ever performed in the world!  Zion responded well physically to his life-changing operation, however tragedy struck the Harvey family once again in 2016, when the life Zion’s Dad was senselessly taken.  Through this family’s trials, they have held onto their faith, and the love and support of countless others who continue to lift them up.

Today, although Zion continues to need daily therapy as his brain continues to learn how to communicate with the nerves in his hands, this amazing 10-year old can throw a baseball over home plate. He can write in his journal, prepare himself lunch and manage zippers on his clothes.  But most importantly to him, he can now pick up his little sister Zoe and hug his mom.