Jasper receives Phi Beta Sigma highest award

September 28, 2017 in News

By Jackie Hampton,


16 PBSImageAwards2017 (26)Phi Beta Sigma Mu Sigma Chapter Image Awards chair, Vernon W. Jasper received the highest honor at the fraternity’s 14th annual Image Awards Program & Scholarship Banquet September 22 at the JSU MS e-center in Jackson.

Jasper, a Jackson businessman and entrepreneur, received the L.T. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, named after Lanier High School Hall of Fame Football coach, the late Leroy Smith (Coach L.T.) who was a long time dedicated Phi Beta Sigma Mu Sigma Chapter member. Jasper said, “It’s humbling to be selected for this award.” In his acceptance speech, Jasper said, “I’m going to always be me and you will always be you.”

Mark Young, state director of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the Mu Sigma Graduate Chapter of Jackson, MS said that Jasper was selected unanimously by his brothers because of his long time service and dedication to the fraternity. Young said that when he joined the Mu Sigma Chapter in 1999 after graduating from Rust College, Jasper was one of the long timers that welcomed him into the chapter.

Young said, “Jasper is one of the few that are still around and he is most deserving of this recognition.” Young also said, “if you want the truth about any situation, whether bitter or sweet, Vernon Jasper will tell it like it is.” When asked if that is a good trait, Young hesitated before responding with a yes and a chuckle.

Jasper has chaired/co-chaired the Image awards for the past ten years. He recalled how devoted his frat brother, L.T. Smith and his wife Ruby were to the fraternity. He referred to them as the Sigma Zeta couple. Ruby Smith was a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority until her passing in 2012 at the age of 91.

Other honorees included: Carl Newman, manager of the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (Business); Jesse Sutton Jr., long-time pastor of New McRaven Hill Baptist Church (Religion); Wilson Stribling, WLBT- TV 3 news anchor (Media); Dr. Wayne Woo, Endocrinology and Diabetes physician (Medicine); Lillie Hardy, retired deputy superintendent Simpson County (Education) and Chokwe Lumumba (posthumously), City of Jackson Mayor, (Humanitarian).

Sutton’s award was received by his son, Arthur Sutton of Progressive Baptist Church and former Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s award was received by his son, current Mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Portions of the funds received from the Image Awards will benefit The Mississippi Kidney Foundation and their annual scholarship program.