Allen University’s director of bands to be honored

Eddie Ellis


(Columbia, S.C.) –  Allen University Director of Bands Eddie Ellis is the recipient of the Montford Point Marines of America 2020 James E. Stewart Sr. Distinguished Torch Bearer Humanitarian Award.


This humanitarian award is given to individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves by meritorious direct lifetime actions with service to mankind. The award was named in memory of the late James E. Stewart.


Stewart’s life was a reflection of his burning passion for equality. Rising from a janitor to assistant to the vice president of one of Oklahoma’s largest utility companies, he aggressively led the fight for equality with his 22 years on the National Board of the NAACP fighting for justice in Oklahoma and across the nation.


Ellis will be receiving the award for his scholarly instruction, humanitarian service, innovative influence, and groundbreaking achievements in the music world.

Ellis is humbled and honored to be the 2020 recipient. “I would like to thank the members of the Montford Point Marines for this very prestigious award,” Ellis said.

“The Torch Bearer Humanitarian Award embodies the qualities I attempt to strive for on a daily basis without fanfare. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated, help others without any expected return, and remember the philosopher Socrates who said, ‘A man without music in him hath no soul.’ Again, thank you Mr. Middleton, Mr. Stewart and the entire Montford Marine membership for bestowing such an honor on me.”

Ellis will be presented with the award at the Montford Point Marines of America Annual Heritage Military Banquet in Detroit, Mich. in June 2020.

Ellis received a bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. He has completed additional coursework at Florida State University. He joined Allen University as director of bands in 2017.

For more information, contact Dr. Teesa Brunson, director of development/associate vice president for institutional advancement, at (803) 376-5724 or