HISTORY OF WVU BLACK ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
In the spring of 1984, the impetus for the formation of a Black Alumni Association arose from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. In order to obtain advisement and feedback concerning the formation of such a group, a Black Alumni Advisory Board consisting of alumni from various backgrounds was established. This distinguished board met in early fall and made several recommendations to Dr. George D. Taylor, Vice President for Student Affairs. The formation of a Black Alumni Caucus was endorsed by the WVU Alumni Association and the concept of Black Alumni Day 1984 was a first step in formally establishing the Alumni Caucus. Finally, the Advisory Board recommended that means be established to keep the President informed of minority concerns at West Virginia University. Former President Gordon Gee acted on this recommendation, and the first Presidential Visiting Committee on Minority Affairs was established.
The first annual Black Alumni Day was held on October 27, 1984. Activities included a scoreboard salute; a pre-game reception for alumni, faculty, and staff; and a tailgate picnic preceding the long-awaited and well-deserved Mountaineer victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions. The second annual event was expanded to encompass an entire weekend of activities, which included a presentation by Tony Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Tony Brown’s Journal, and by Dr. Judith Thomas, chair of the Education Department at Lincoln University and one of the founding members of the Black Unity Organization at WVU. We were again pleased to welcome our alumni for Black Alumni Weekend 1986.
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RE-EMERGENCE OF WVU BLACK ALUMNI
In 2005, WVU Black Alumni launched a grassroots effort to reconnect its black constituents by partnering with the WVU Alumni Association. The group began working feverishly to establish the WVU BLACK Alumni Association (WVUBAA), the group came together and overwhelming decided to rally around the Horace and Geraldine Belmear Endowment Scholarship Fund as its banner project. To date, the fund has accumulated more than $25,000 and has reached its goal.
As the group began to organize, it was decided that it should have a structure similar to WVU Alumni Association's constituent groups, therefore, with a goal in mind the task was set. It was during an announced public meeting on October 10, 2009. WVU Black Alumni Association constituents conducted a business meeting at the Erickson Alumni Center for this very historic event. At the meeting the name WVU Black Alumni Association, a constituent group of the WVU Alumni Association was voted on and approved. With the support of the alumni association's president and board of directors, the WVUBAA group move to elect its very first slate of officers and appointed voluntarily committees. The weekend concluded with high hopes of building on the success of kicking off the Belmear Scholarship and setting up a structure for the newly established organization. The group left with a clear objective to reconnect unassociated alumni and friends to their Alma Mater - West Virginia University.