WMU News

Career expo, slide show and symposium highlight first Black Alumni Reunion

Sept. 15, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A career expo and a historical slide show and symposium are just two of the activities that are attracting black graduates to campus for WMU's first Black Alumni Reunion Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 23-25.

Major speakers include WMU President Elson S. Floyd, who will address a Saturday breakfast gathering, and Roy M. Roberts, a 1970 WMU graduate who is a top General Motors executive and a former WMU trustee. He will be the Saturday dinner keynote speaker.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday in the lobby of Walwood Hall. Many of the activities are open to the public.

The WMU Alumni Association and its Onyx Society are sponsoring the three-day event, which has as its theme, "Making the Connection, Continuing the Climb, Keeping the PACE." The acronym stands for "Progression of African Americans in the 21st Century through Higher Education."

The reunion features a wide range of activities, including a Career Information Expo and a Historical Slide Presentation and Pioneer Symposium. Both are open to the public.

"In keeping with the theme, this reunion offers something for everyone," says Sharon S. Russell, assistant director of alumni relations. "We encourage all members of the University community to participate in as many of these activities as possible."

A 14-member member committee has been planning activities for the past several months. More information is available from Russell at (616) 387-8777. Here is a rundown of the major activities planned for the Black Alumni Reunion:

Career Information Expo--The career expo will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, in Haenicke Hall. During the expo, successful alumni will share their experience and inspiration with current WMU students and others.

Alumni also will participate in "Professor of the Day" programs in several colleges and departments. "This is a great way for alumni to connect with their alma mater and the students as well as to network and showcase their accomplishments, businesses or agencies," Russell says.

"Professors of the Day" include, by college:

Activities on Friday, Sept. 24, include:

Historical Slide Presentation and Pioneer Symposium--The one-hour public program begins at 10 a.m. in Oakland Recital Hall. Dr. Benjamin Wilson, professor of black Americana studies, will narrate a slide program. It will emphasize some of the "first" events and contributions of black students, faculty and staff members at WMU.

Barbara Lett Simmons, a 1949 WMU graduate who heads her own consulting business in Washington, D.C., will lead the symposium. Panelists will include: Dr. John W. Dobbs, '54; Gloria Smith Lett, '57, '76; Fletcher Lewis, '59; Louis B. Mallard, '35; Charles Mitchell Jr., '59; David Robinson, '51; and Hackley E. Woodford, M.D., '36.

Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing--The Onyx Society is sponsoring the golf outing to raise money for its scholarship program, which benefits students whose family member or sponsoring adult is a member of the WMU Alumni Association. It takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at The Prairies Golf Club.

Welcome Reception--Hot hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Walwood Hall, home of the McKee Alumni Center.

Hoopster Basketball--Alumni and friends of the University are invited to attend this challenge event between alumni athletes from the 1960s through the 1990s, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center. The coordinators of this activity are Ralph Carter, '72; Charles Tucker, '68; and Michael R. Williams, '72.

Activities taking placing on Saturday, Sept. 25, include:

Breakfast and plenary sessions--WMU President Elson S. Floyd will make remarks during a continental breakfast, beginning at 8 a.m. in the Fetzer Center. Alumni then will conduct sessions on volunteering, entrepreneurship, educational administration, health issues, the global economy, employment and politics. Campus tours will follow.

Session topics and their leaders include:

Global Economy--Melvin Chatman, '63, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Alumni and Student Barbecue--The Minority Student Leadership Council will sponsor a gathering of members of historically black fraternities and sororities from 1 to 3 p.m. at the gazebo near Goldsworth Pond.

Reception and Dinner Dance--A reception begins at 6 p.m. at the Gilmore Theatre Complex. Roy M. Roberts, a 1970 WMU graduate and vice president and group executive of General Motors sales, service and marketing in North America, will be the keynote speaker at a dinner, which begins at 7 p.m. The Quincy Davis Trio will perform during the reception.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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