Alfred Duncan ’99 chose Shenandoah because his childhood friend, Billy Blake ’99 was a student at the university and he was a member of the men’s basketball team. Duncan was recruited by Shenandoah and couldn’t pass up the opportunity because this would allow him to play basketball with his childhood friend at the collegiate level.
“It’s a great school,” said Duncan. “The education was excellent; however, networking with the student body was my biggest takeaway. The diversity challenged me to get out of my comfort zone.”
Some of Duncan’s favorite memories during his time at the university are traveling with the men’s basketball team to games, especially the NCAA Tournament; the friendships he made; and the long conversations he would have in the cafeteria. He is still active in the Shenandoah community as a member of the Shenandoah University Black Alumni Network, a newly formed alumni group that came together in 2020.
Duncan is the CEO of Black Men Ventures, which aims to “create access to capital for Black Men Founders” and to “narrow the wealth gap by promoting and supporting Black Men Founders through multiple aspects of their Entrepreneurship endeavors.” In his position, he is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization. He is also involved with fundraising, marketing and community outreach.
In addition to being a CEO, Duncan is also a national recording artist, playwright and author. On Jan. 26, 2019, he and his wife, Sherrell, performed their play, “Views From Forever” at THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Washington, D.C. The stage play starred Alfred and Sherrell portraying older, amplified versions of themselves taking a relatable and comedic look at love, trust and intimacy in relationships. Most recently in October 2020, Duncan released a new song called “Forever Loving,” featuring Kinjee and Steve Roy.
Most of the rewarding experiences Duncan has encountered have been in his music career. He says being a part of a national tour multiple times, being nominated for a Grammy and working together with his wife on their stage play are easily his top three most rewarding experiences.
Being a communication major prepared Duncan for his career because it gave him the ability to express himself in an artistic way. “Shenandoah also unintentionally forced me to engage with a diverse group of people from all walks of life,” said Duncan. “Shenandoah taught me how to network.”
Duncan’s advice to students is: “Communication is a pretty broad field that entails so many different occupations. The quicker you learn what your passion is within this field, the better. However, it’s no rush because you tend to fall in love with things that you had no idea you had an interest in. Just be open to the idea of your path changing mid-journey. No worries, you will end up where you’re supposed to be.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations