Upperman promotes Manny Lloyd to full-time employee

Manny Lloyd is the cultural enrichment programs coordinator for Upperman African American Cultural Center. PHOTO BY: BRADLEY PEARCE/UNCW

Courtesy of UNCW

Manny Lloyd is the cultural enrichment programs coordinator for Upperman African American Cultural Center. PHOTO BY: BRADLEY PEARCE/UNCW

Casey McAnarney, Editor-in-Chief

The Upperman African American Cultural Center promoted former temporary employee and UNC Wilmington alum Manny Lloyd to the full-time position of Cultural Enrichment Program Coordinator.

Lloyd transferred to UNCW from Cape Fear Community College and was initially a history major before deciding upon a degree in political science. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and joined the Upperman Center staff as a temporary employee Aug. 2017. He was promoted to a full-time position in February of this year.

“I thought I was going to play in the NBA before college,” Lloyd said. “I played it from [age] 6 to 18 and then stopped growing.”

Rather, when Lloyd got to college he realized that he enjoyed “using his head” more than his previous career aspirations and had become interested in the worlds of politics and helping other individuals.

While at UNCW, Lloyd recalled loving all of his classes and how he got heavily involved in the Upperman Center. The Teacher’s Assistant [TA] in his first class, Brandon Bell, introduced Lloyd to the center.

“He invited me up to Upperman and I haven’t left since,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd began as a mentee in the Excellence Project, which is an on-campus peer mentoring program. According to The Upperman Center’s website, “The Excellence Project was developed by the Upperman African American Cultural Center to support excellence in academic achievement among African American students at UNCW through tutoring and supplemental instruction, highlighting of special achievements, peer support and public programs that recognize and celebrate excellence.” The current program advisor is RaeShelle Drayton-Greene.

Lloyd then applied to become a mentor after having enjoyed the program. Once graduation rolled around, some temporary staff positions opened up and Lloyd applied, thus continuing his involvement with Upperman.

“It’s been a really unique experience,” Lloyd said about transitioning from student to employee of The Upperman Center. He has gone from being a mentee and undergraduate who enjoyed the center’s programs to a mentor helping other students and finally to becoming a professional staff member, “seeing how the sausage is made. As a professional, you are thrown right into it.”

Lloyd was hired in February as the Cultural Enrichment Program Coordinator; he is preceded by Emmanuel Mitcham, who is now the Marketing and Communications Specialist for the Office of Community Engagement in Kenan Auditorium. Lloyd said that Mitcham was involved in the cultural enrichment programs, like the Social/Educational Black Fridays (held every other Friday) and the Kwanzaa programs.

One of the events Lloyd was involved in was the Travelin’ Round De Ben: A Gullah Spring Break Trip, which took students “through the Sea Islands as we embark to learn about the ways in which Gullah-Geechee culture impacts religion, food, land, culture, politics, language, travel, and music.” Students were given the opportunity to “taste, see, and learn” about how the Gullah-Geechee Culture, which runs through North Carolina to Florida, impacts the world and other individuals today.

The students all seemed very interested in what they were learning on the trip, according to Lloyd. Reflective sessions were held in the evenings and students had two to three-hour discussions on what they had learned.

“They were really invested in it,” Lloyd said. “I think they really got more out of it than they expected to; I know I did.”

Lloyd said that it was “cool to see something you put together really touch students and give them an experience they will never forget.”

The Upperman center has events running through the end of this school year listed on their website. This Friday, April 6, at noon in the Upperman Center there will be an annual Black Friday event centered on being a “N.E.R.D.” The event descriptions said that they will discuss “Afro-Futurism, comics/graphic novels, vintage and neo-gaming…and literally all things cool about being a dope Black introvert.”

Other future events include a networking etiquette session and an opportunity to participate in yoga during finals week to help de-stress.