By Georgene Pilling ’04M, Program Director for Alumni Relations
On April 25 the Commons Great Room was filled with magic—symbolized by the image of the Sankofa bird and realized by the laughter and warm embraces of reunions between students, faculty, staff and alumni. [Photos |Video]
With the support of President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III, Jazmine Goodwin ’12 and members of the Black Awareness Society and Andrew Brooks ’09, Chair of the Alumni Association Young Alumni Committee, met over the course of the year to give substance and shape to a dinner that would honor students and alumni of color, celebrate alumni and student talent and provide networking opportunities that would help them to reconnect to the past, engage with the present and move to the future together.
Alumna and violinist Katherine Burton ’98 set the stage with a beautiful musical presentation, which was followed by warm greetings from President Oxholm; Kevin Brown, Director of Alumni Relations; Dr. Steve Michael, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Judy Dalton, Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity; Angela McNeil, ACT 101 Counselor; and Dr. Doreen Loury, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of Act 101.
The success of the event surpassed the expectations of the planning group. “When asked to take on the challenge of organizing the dinner, I was very excited and expected a big turnout. But I was mistaken—we had an excellent turnout! And I was very honored and privileged to be a part of that program. It was great to see so many black alumni come out and support Arcadia and the black students,” said Brooks.
Goodwin, President of the Black Awareness Society, has already noticed an increase in engagement in the short time following the dinner. “Since the event, alumni have returned to campus just to see us. They [alumni] came to see our Capstone presentations and attended the ALANA ceremony.”
BAS and the Alumni Association are busy making plans for next year, including a gathering of ALANA for a reception at Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 13, and the second annual BAS and Alumni Dinner in Spring 2013. “I hadn't expected such a strong showing of alumni and students at the BAS dinner,” notes Brown. “It is clear from the energy and passion shown by the students and alumni alike... we have an event worth repeating.”