Yalana B. Bryant, assistant director for diversity initiatives at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Virginia Tech, received the Education Advocate of the Year Award from the American Association of University Women of Virginia.

Bryant is a graduate of Hampton University. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University.

• Constance Lightner, associate professor in the School of Business and Economics at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, received the 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award from the board of governors of the University of North Carolina.

Professor Lightner is a graduate of Norfolk State University. She holds a master’s and a doctoral degree from North Carolina State University.

• Edward Cox, associate professor of history at Rice University, was the recipient of the university’s George R. Brown Award for superior teaching.

• Kenneth I. Chenault, chair and CEO of American Express, received the Special Citation for Achievement from Howard University. Chenault was honored for his “exemplary contributions in the field of business.”

• Erica Hunt, president of the Twenty-First Century Foundation, received the National Community Service Award from Spelman College.

• K. Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, was among the eight new members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The prestigious society is limited to 250 individuals.

• Thelma C. Davidson Adair received the Barnard Medal of Distinction at the Barnard College commencement. She founded the Mount Morris New Life day-care center in Harlem and helped establish the Head Start program in New York City.

Adair is a graduate of Bennett College. She holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University.