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Fall 2013 - Volume 2, Issue 3

Date Released: 26 August 2013

Message from the President: Greetings, Alumni

President Alicia GravesI offer greetings and salutations to students, alumni, faculty and friends in our seventh newsletter. We, your current board of directors, have reached the half-way point in our tenure as officers of the African American Alumni Association (AAAA). It has been an honor to serve as president during this year of hard work, innovation and partnership. Morale is high and pride is even higher as we strive to reach our goals.

The AAAA is hard at work creating programming that meets the needs of students and fellow alumni. The Reach Back—Raise Up pledge drive for African American students is fully underway.The Alumni Mentorship Program is poised to launch, and we are making final preparations for our Winter Social and Speakers Series. Come aboard this train. You don’t want to miss what we have in store!

I express sincere gratitude to all who helped make Homecoming 2013 a success. The live jazz, uplifting poetry and goosebump-inducing vocals, along with reconnections with fellow alumni and students made for a great time. We also raised money to support the Reach Back—Raise Up Fund Drive. There’s nothing better than the combination of food, fun, friends and fundraising. Make plans now to join us for Reunion Weekend 2014: October 16-19!

Have a beautiful autumn season, filled with the joys of changing leaves and vibrant colors. Participate in your community, and stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of the AAAA.

Come along on this journey. Mentor a young student. Inspire recent alumni. Share your story.

Alicia Graves (CWR’05), President, African American Alumni Association

Let the Mentorship Begin!

Aqueelah Jordan (CWR'04)

We are very excited to announce the kickoff of the African American Alumni Association Mentorship Program! We hope that you, our valued alumni, will take time out of your busy schedules to reach back to current undergraduate students at Case Western Reserve University. The intent of the mentorship program is to link our students with other minority professionals who have already gained experience from both CWRU and the larger community.

Members of the AAAA are uniquely equipped to provide both educational and professional advice to current students. For this reason, we are looking for a large number of mentors who are dedicated to assisting the students. The mentorship program will truly prove to be a rewarding experience for all involved. This program will afford minority students a safe space to ask questions to another minority about situations that directly impact them and their experience at Case and will offer alumni an opportunity to be a bridge to the future.

The mentoring program is not restricted to local alumni. Technology makes it possible for a mentoring relationship via Skype, email and phone to be just as meaningful as a face-to-face relationship. Mentors and mentees will reap multiple benefits as they transform each other’s lives. We hope that you will consider participating in this worthwhile program.

We have prepared a brief survey that will allow us to assess student and mentor interests, in order to make a mutually beneficial match.



We look forward to hearing from you!

Campus News: Involved Alumni Build Great Futures

LarKesha Burns Askew (CWR’09)

LarKesha Burns Askew (CWR’09)The AAAA is diligently pursuing its goal to strengthen student-alumni relationships. On September 9, the AAAA hosted its second semi-annual barbecue on the Quad, co-sponsored by the African American Society and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity.  Once again, students and alumni of varied races, genders, ages and academic focus danced to the DJ’s sounds, feasted on grilled food, mingled and discussed organizations and career choices.

The Student and Alumni Speakers Series also connects current students with alumni in various careers. Speakers provide information, advice and answers to questions about life after graduation and transitioning into careers. The first Speakers Series event will take place November 4 from 6-8:30 p.m. in Sears 480. Contact us at to get involved.

Giving News: From Activism to Philanthropy

Sharon Jordan Davis (CWR’98, MNO’00)

Sharon Jordan DavisLast month, the Diversity 360 THINK Forum, The Gift of Diversity: From Activism to Philanthropy, kicked off 120 homecoming weekend activities. It featured a panel discussion by CWRU AAAA President Alicia Graves (CWR’05), CWRU Emeritus Trustee and founder of the Frank "Doc" Kelker Scholarship Fund, Harold D. McRae (ADL’65), Sharon Milligan, PhD, associate dean of Academic Affairs and associate professor, CWRU Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

Marilyn S. Mobley, PhD (GRS’87), Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, and Christopher Vlahos, CWRU Alumni Association, co-sponsors of the event, offered words of welcome.

Panelists shared research, community involvement and testimonials to the benefits of receiving financial support and of making a difference by giving back.

McRae said he was pleased to introduce Diane McDaniel, (MGT’87, ’89). After receipt of an AAAA newsletter, McDaniel, who had long contemplated leaving a legacy to the university, chose to support scholarships at the Weatherhead School of Management. Thomas Matthews, executive director of the Career Center, concluded the event by encouraging the audience to be involved on campus in the lives of current students.

Reach Back—Raise Up in Action

Erma Leaphart-Gouch (WRC’75)

Homecoming 2013 saw another chapter in our historic scholarship campaign come to fruition. The AAAA presented its first Celebrating the Arts: Scholarship Fund Drive Reception on September 27. This event raised funds for scholarships while highlighting the artistic talents of CWRU African American students and alumni.

Incredible paintings by Jerome White and stunning photography by Linda "Buster" Lloyd were on display throughout the evening. Alumnus Dean Patterson (WRC’75, GRS’82) spoke eloquently through his poetry. Student Unique Smith performed two beautiful songs and poetry student TJ Madden gifted attendees with his compositions. A jazz trio from the Brian Taylor Project rounded out the evening with superb performances. Without a doubt, this extraordinary party with a purpose was enjoyed by all who attended.

The Fund Drive Reception Committee, including Alicia Graves, Sharyse Jones (SAS’08), Erma Leaphart-Gouch and Mark Smith (WRC’75), extends heartfelt thanks to emcee Brian Anthony (CWR‘06), talent scout Janice Eatman-Williams (MNO’01), and Ashley Dyer, Jess Finley and Chris Vlahos from the Alumni Office, in addition to the artists and to all who made the evening a success. Let’s make this a tradition. In the meantime, please continue to support African American and minority students at CWRU through the Reach Back—Raise Up Fund Drive. Gifts can be made online at

It's Not Too Late to Nominate

Please consider nominating an African American athlete for the Spartan Club Hall Of Fame. (See Newsletter, Spring 2013 for more information.) Nominations are accepted year-round, however candidate assessments and reviews for 2014 induction only run until November 1. This link contains forms, criteria and instructions.

In Memoriam: Love Leaves a Memory No One Can Steal

RoseRev. Victor Jackson

Michael Holt (NUR’01, NUR’05)

Notices may be sent to

What would you like to see highlighted in future newsletters? Your ideas are appreciated. Contact us at

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