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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU's Tucker Gets Anchor Award from Children's Harbor

Cecelia Taliaferro Tucker, Old Dominion University's assistant to the president for community relations, is the recipient of the 2014 Anchor Award of the local Children's Harbor organization. This is the top honor bestowed by the nonprofit organization, which provides 1 million hours of child care services annually and is a Community Partner of the United Way of South Hampton Roads.

Tucker was recognized May 15 at the Children's Harbor 13th Annual Safe Harbor Awards and Silent Auction event at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

Children's Harbor is a multifaceted organization whose goal is to operate its early childhood programs as models of excellence. In addition to providing child care, it provides training each year to thousands of early care and education professionals. It also assists children through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Tucker is a former member of the organization's board of directors.

Past winners of the Anchor Award Legend Award include Anne Shumadine, former rector of the ODU Board of Visitors.

In her position at ODU, which she took in 1991, Tucker has devoted herself to improving relationships among the races. She undertakes a wide variety of community relations activities for the university, especially for and with the minority and African-American communities of Hampton Roads. These activities include liaison with community groups; alumni relations; government relations; student, faculty and staff recruitment; working to improve the campus climate and civility; public speaking; and representing the president and specific projects, as assigned.

The daughter of two educators, Tucker was the valedictorian of her high school class in Mecklenburg County, Va., and graduated cum laude from Virginia Union University in Richmond with a bachelor's degree in biology education. She received a master's in biology from Michigan State University.

After teaching at Booker T. Washington High School for six years, Tucker spent time as a full-time wife and mother, and also as a community volunteer. Tucker worked with the Norfolk Committee for the Improvement of Education, Day Care and Child Development Center, Phyllis Wheatly YWCA, Freemason Street YWCA and the Urban League of Hampton Roads. In 1983, she was asked to serve as the acting director of the Urban League, which initiated her return to the working world outside of home. Following her years at the Urban League, she held several other positions as Women in Transition director for the YWCA in Hampton Roads, marketing director for Banks Corneille and Associates, an architectural firm, and interim director of the William A. Hunton YMCA.

She has served on boards of numerous community organizations, including the Virginia Stage Company, Young Audiences of Virginia, the Virginia Beach Community Services Board, the African-American Jewish Coalition, Empowerment 2010 and the Dwelling Place.

In addition to her extensive community involvement, Tucker has held three state appointments by governors John Dalton and Charles Robb. She was a member of the Bi-racial Monitoring Committee for both governors and served on the Virginia Enterprise Zone Task Force for Robb.

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