Entertainment and Convention Executive Angie M. Gates to Receive 2024 Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award

Angie M. Gates and Kheri Billy

Angie M. Gates and Kheri Billy

Entertainment and convention executive Angie M. Gates will receive the 2024 University of New Orleans Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. Additionally, Kheri Billy, the CEO of the nonprofit Reconcile New Orleans, Inc., has been named the 2024 Norma Jane Sabiston Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. Both will be celebrated at a gala at the National WWII Museum on November 7, 2024.

Gates is currently the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority of Washington, D.C. Under Gates’ leadership, Events DC has created events that result in jobs, economic impact and unique experiences. She has launched a number of inaugural events that contribute to the city’s economy and quality of life, including Met Fest, which is the district’s largest gaming festival, and Because They’re Funny Comedy Festival, a showcase of comedians of color that was named one of USA Today’s top 10 new festivals of 2023. 
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of New Orleans,” Gates said. “My time at UNO equipped me with knowledge, skills and a network that has been instrumental throughout my career path. This award is a testament to the exceptional education and mentorship I received at UNO. It is very meaningful to be recognized in this way, knowing the legacy of outstanding alumni who have preceded me. This award inspires me to continue to give back to the University at every opportunity.”

Gates previously served in the administration of Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as the director of the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. She also held other roles, including traveling chief of staff, director of operations for the mayor’s transition team, and director of inauguration. Gates was executive producer of Mayor Bowser’s inaugural celebrations in 2019 and 2022. In 2006, Gates became the first African American general manager of the iconic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. She began her career as a film specialist for the New Orleans Film Commission. 
Gates is the recipient of numerous awards and is a two-time Emmy Award winner. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1992 and a master’s in arts administration in 2001, both from the University of New Orleans. 

Gates will be the 41st honoree to receive the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. The honoree is selected by a committee of former award recipients.

Kheri Billy is the CEO of Reconcile New Orleans, Inc., a nonprofit that supports young adults as they transform their lives by encouraging personal growth, providing workforce development and training, and equipping them with tools to achieve their potential. Café Reconcile is the organization’s well-known restaurant and training space in the Central City neighborhood.

Before becoming CEO, Billy served as chief financial officer of Reconcile New Orleans for four years. She previously worked for other nonprofits including Second Harvest Food Bank, DePaul Community Center and De La Salle High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UNO in 2006.  
The 2024 Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Gala will be held on November 7, 2024 from 7-10 p.m. at the National WWII Museum: Boeing Freedom Pavilion. For ticket and sponsorship information, click here.