Heritage and Horizons: A series of interdisciplinary events celebrating Black History Month 2024

The Black History Month Steering Committee at SUNY New Paltz announces a series of academic and social programs to take place in February 2024.

[Please use this link to view a complete calendar of Black History Month 2024 events at SUNY New Paltz.]

This series is organized around the theme “Heritage and Horizons: Embracing the Essence of Blackness and Being,” and presented in collaboration with Zillah M. Fluker, Ph.D., co-founder of the non-profit Why Not Win Institute.

“Heritage and Horizons” aims to elevate the Black History Month experience at New Paltz through a series of events featuring guest experts addressing the theme as it relates to Business, Government Relations, Education and Arts & Culture. Through engaging events, participants will be empowered to embrace the essence of Blackness, fostering a sense of pride, unity and inspiration across the campus community.

The headlining events schedule will be as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m.
Lecture Center 104
Annette Brooks Quarles, MBA
Vice President, IBM Z Data and AI

Over the course of more than two decades at IBM, Quarles has held various leadership and management positions of increasing responsibility in systems test, development, client support and strategic planning for the enterprise systems. She will lead a Corporate Leadership Symposium for the SUNY New Paltz community where attendees can learn about successful Black leaders in the corporate sector, and gain insights into professional development strategies for career advancement, connecting corporate practices with the evolving landscape of higher education.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m.
Lecture Center 104
Zillah Fluker, Ph.D.
Director of Executive Leadership & Executive Director, Why Not Win Institute

Fluker is executive director and co-founder of the Why Not Win Institute, a non-profit for leadership development, and a 17-year leader in corporate America and higher education. She will host a Leadership and Education Symposium for New Paltz students, faculty, staff and alumni. The interactive workshop is designed to help participants understand the importance of personal accountability in academic and professional success, develop strategies for effective engagement in educational pursuits, and explore the role of diversity and inclusion in creating a vibrant and inclusive learning environment.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m.
Lecture Center 104
Hon. Brandon L. McGee, Jr.
Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Housing

McGee has been actively involved in the political arena for two decades, including services as a Connecticut State Representative from 2013-2022. He will lead a Government and Civic Engagement Panel aimed at helping attendees better recognize the importance of Black representation in government and leadership roles, and explore their own avenues for active civic engagement and participation.

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.
Studley Theatre
Bonita J. Hamilton
Actress, Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway

Lauded for her role as Shenzi the Hyena in the Tony award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King,” Hamilton is a highly decorated actress, singer, voice over artist and speaker with nearly two decades’ experience on Broadway. She will lead a “Grand Convocation” closing the Black History Month 2024 celebration at New Paltz, a celebration of the rich heritage of Black culture through artistic expressions that will help foster a sense of unity and pride and inspire creativity and innovation through cultural appreciation.


Questions about the “Heritage and Horizons” series, including accessibility questions for those who may need accommodation to fully participate can be directed to Shelton Johnson, assistant professor of Black Studies and Black History Month Steering Committee chair, at johnsonks@newpaltz.edu.