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Cheryl Brannan, receives Iona University’s Jean Claude Lovinsky Pillar of the Community Award


New Rochelle, NY, 11/04/2023: The Jean-Claude Lovinsky Memorial Scholarship Committee was pleased to sponsor their 12th Annual Scholarship Fundraising Dinner at Iona University on Saturday, November 4, 2023.


The late Mr. Lovinsky was a long-time employee at Iona University and his life’s mission was to serve others here in the US and in his native Haiti. He was an active member at Church of the Holy Family, in New Rochelle and an advocate for social justice. After his sudden passing in 2007, his family partnered with Iona University to create the Jean-Claude Memorial Scholarship Committee that awards scholarships to students of Caribbean heritage that demonstrate true humanitarian character. This year’s recipients were Sonia Aweh and Ashley Nunez.


The Pillar of the Community Award recipient was awarded to Cheryl Brannan, and presented by Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, an Iona alumnus. Mrs. Lovinsky, the wife of the late Jean Claude, stated that his life’s mission was to serve his community, and Ms. Brannan’s work and commitment beautifully reflects his spirit and example. She is being recognized as the Founder & Executive Director of Sister to Sister International, Inc., who has been a pillar and trailblazer in the community for over three decades. She has continuously dedicated herself to uplifting Black women, girls and families throughout Westchester County and beyond. The last recipient of this award was the late Hon. Pearl C. Quarles, prior to the pandemic in 2019.


Cheryl Brannan, accepted the award and expressed her gratitude for her over forty guests, including her immediate family, STSI members, community partners and elected officials Hon. Shawyn Patterson Howard, Hon. Terry Clements and Supreme Court Judge Janet Malone, along various candidates, and friends. She thanked the Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins for his commitment to service and friendship over the years, along with Tsahai Amazan, a dedicated scholarship committee member for the nomination. Cheryl stated that the award was very special to her in that the previous recipient was the late great Hon. Pearl C. Quarles, her dear friend and role model. She also lifted up the theme “I am, because we are” during her acceptance speech.


A beautiful awe-inspiring praise dance was performed by New Rochelle resident and pillar, Vera Cheek, also an STSI Board member. She dedicated the dance to Cheryl Brannan and her founding family members, mother Jeanette Ray and aunt Rose Taylor.


Also, awarded was Rick Palladino ’76, ’89, Director of Libraries at Iona University, a dedicated 40 Year Employee who also worked alongside the late John Claude Lovinsky.


Scholarship committee members included Louzane Amazan, Tashai Amazan, Ann Marie Johnson, Eydie Jordan, Shirley LeBlanc, Lelienne Lovinsky, Nathalie Lovinsky, Genevieve Thompson, Edna Viez and Kathryn Wiegand.


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