Kente Awards 2013

The event will recognize Les Miller and Dr. Dexter Frederick, along with awarding four “Ike” Tribble Scholarships to students. 


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 24, 2013) – The University of South Florida’s African American Advisory Committee to the President will honor Lesley “Les” Miller Jr. and Dr. Dexter Frederick, along with four scholarship recipients Thursday evening at the annual Kente Awards Reception. It will be held in the Gibbons Alumni Center Traditions Hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Miller, with over 36 years of community service, currently serves as a member of the Hillsborough County Commission representing the 3rd District. He will receive the Kente USF Alumni Award.


He served as a member of the Florida Senate, 18th District from 2000 to 2006. During his tenure in the Senate, he served in various capacities, including Democratic Leader (Minority Leader) from 2004 to 2006, Democratic Leader Pro Tempore from 2002 to 2004, Democratic Whip from 2000 to 2002, and Vice Chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee from 2004 to 2006.  He was the co-author of two state budgets in the amounts of $70 billion and $73 billion. 

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Miller was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992. There he served as Democratic Leader (Minority Leader) from 1998 to 2000.  Miller is the first person in the State of Florida’s history to serve as Democratic Leader in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.

“During his careers in both legislative bodies, he established a reputation for bipartisan, innovative compromise and cooperation to improve the lives of his constituency, especially as legislation affects education, the elderly, and health initiatives,” said Chair Marian Lauria-Davis. She also cited Miller’s service to USF where he worked as director of the Office of Community Relations and served as liaison to the African American Advisory Committee.

A lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Miller also holds memberships in Prince Hall Shriners; the Masons; and the NAACP.  He is a life member of the USF Alumni Association and belongs to many other organizations.

Miller has received many awards and honors, among them: the USF Distinguished Alumnus Award; the USF President’s Distinguished Citizens Award; the Florida A&M University President’s Award; Florida Democratic Party’s Distinguished Service Award; Early Learning Coalitions Legislative Excellence Award; Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches Morris Milton Award; Florida Education Association President’s Award; American Cancer Society’s Legislative Award; and the American Jewish Community’s Lawton Chiles Florida Religious Award. Florida A&M University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters in 2005.

Dr. Frederick will receive the Kente Community Leadership Award. He specializes in internal and pediatric medicine in Tampa.


“Dr. Frederick is known as a caring physician who helps students by encouraging and supporting their interest in healthcare careers,” said Lauria-Davis. “His impact on the community had been quite significant and inspiring.”    

A proud member and alumnus of the National Health Service Corp where he worked with underserved patients at the Tampa Community Health Center, he sought to help provide greater representation of minorities in order to address health disparities and prevent future health crises.


He then went on to found B.E.S.T., Brain Expansions Scholastic Training, a not-for-profit community organization that works with disadvantaged young people. He established it to implement his philosophy that students should start cultivating their interest in the sciences and future careers in health care professions at a young age. The program encourages minority students and underrepresented genders to enroll in high level sciences, math and workforce development education classes. The organization also works with parents by helping them understand their roles in encouraging their children’s interests and providing workshops on academic matters, financial preparation and college preparation.


Dr. Frederick was honored in 2006 by then Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio with the Tampa Citizen of the Year Award.


The Israel “Ike” Tribble Scholarship, named in honor of the late educator and businessman, and administered by the committee, will be presented to four students. The recipients are:


-       Deanndra Burrowes: A graduate student working on a masters’ degree in public health, she currently works at the College of Behavioral and Community Health’s Department of Children & Families. The single mother wants to open a clinic for women and children.


-       Geornesia Moses: A junior majoring in elementary education, she works with the Tutor-A-Bull program and wants to be president of her own university someday. She was also chosen to receive a Women in Leadership & Philanthropy scholarship.


-       Jessica Wilson: A Ph.D. student in math, she is working toward opening her own high school focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and ways to better prepare teachers to make math and science fun for racially diverse populations.


-       Javaris Green: A graduate student working on a master’s in counseling education, he wants to be a high school guidance counselor and work with disadvantaged youth in an urban area school. He mentors at-risk students and plans to start his own mentoring service. His goal is to help today's youth through encouragement and empowerment, and provide them with opportunities he never had.


The USF African American Advisory Committee includes officers, veteran educator and former Delta Sigma Theta Tampa Alumnae Chapter President and CEO Marian Lauria-Davis, chair; noted physician Dr. James O. Brookins, vice chair; and members Ralph Alderman, Albert Coleman, Darrell Daniels, Carolyn Hepburn-Collins, LaShante Keys, Don Odom, Alicia Phidd, Phildra Swagger and Sharon Thompson-Ayers.


To register for this event, please contact Ana Solorzano at

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.