What do two former NFL players and a community activist have in common? They were each recently honored as HBCU Living Legends.
Romus Jefferies, a former Buffalo Bills football player; Marjorie Kinard, speaker, community activist and fundraiser; and Joseph “Jo-Jo” White, who played for the Canadian Football League and the Tampa Bay Bandits of the U.S. Football League, all Livingstone alumni, received the distinction as HBCU Living Legends at the N.C. HBCU (Historically Black College or University) Living Legends Scholarship Gala on Sept. 4 in Charlotte.
The event, the vision of William and Vanessa Hairston and other community volunteers, celebrates the significant legacies of North Carolina’s 11 historically black colleges and universities by honoring three alumni from each school every two years.
Livingstone Golf Coach Andre Springs was inducted as a Fayetteville State University alumnus.
Honorary co-chairs of the event were Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., who was inducted in 2019 as an HBCU Living Legend of Elizabeth City State University; Congresswoman Alma Adams; and N.C. Senator Toby Fitch.
The purpose of the event is to provide scholarships to currently enrolled students of the state’s HBCUs. The funds are generated through the gala and an HBCU Living Legends calendar.
Students can apply for an HBCU Living Legend Scholarship by visiting www.hbculivinglegends.com
Jefferies, a graduate of Dunbar High School in East Spencer, became a four-year letterman at Livingstone College. He was named Coca-Cola Golden Helmet and Most Valuable Player, and was selected to the all-CIAA team three times out of his four years as a Blue Bear.
After graduation in 1971, he continued his football career with the Buffalo Bills. He was inducted into the Livingstone College Hall of Fame, the Livingstone College Commemorative Classic Hall of Fame and Rowan County Hall of Fame.
He is the owner and operator of Hardees Food System, and a member of the Grand Lodge Athletic Department, where he serves as softball director.
Kinard is a sought-after speaker whose career includes serving as an educator with the District of Columbia public schools; director of alumni affairs, director of enrollment management and dean of student affairs at her alma mater; and director of public relations for Barber-Scotia College in Concord.
After graduation, she went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of DC.
She is a member of the National Council of Negro Women; the Livingstone College National Alumni Association; the National Association of the Education of Young Children; the Washington Association of Child Care Centers; and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she served on its national board.
An active member of John Wesley AME Zion Church, she is president of the AME Zion Ministers Spouses and Widow(ers) Fellowship of the Philadelphia Conference and the Washington District.
White is a 1983 summa cum laude graduate of Livingstone College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood education. He started his football career at Livingstone as a walk on, but earned a four-year scholarship and became the first running back in CIAA history to rush for more than 4,000 yards.
His professional football career ended due to a knee injury. He is a K-8 physical education/health teacher, athletic trainer, and athletic director and coach with Brunswick County Schools.
He was inducted into the Livingstone College Commemorative Classic Hall of Fame; was Blue Bears Most Outstanding Offensive Back; a two-time CIAA Athlete of the Year; and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Springs is Livingstone’s head golf coach and former athletic director. He has led the men’s golf team to eight CIAA golf championships, three National Minority golf championships and four NCAA appearances during his 20-year tenure.
In 1987, he launched a minority golf clinic to help young players develop golf skills in preparation for local and national competitions. He won CIAA Golf Coach of the Year in 1986, 1987 and 2015.
As athletic director, the Livingstone men’s basketball team won back-to-back CIAA championships, the first time in school history.
As a student at Fayetteville State University, he was the first freshman to win the CIAA Golf Championship and was named FSU’s Most Outstanding Freshman. He was MVP for three consecutive years and assisted his team to four CIAA golf championships.
Springs has been inducted into the Fayetteville State University and Livingstone College Hall of Fame; the CIAA Hall of Fame; the African-American Golfers Hall of Fame; and the Mecklenburg County Sports Wall of Fame.
He is a member of the United States Golf Teachers Federation; the National Negro Golf Association; and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.