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Fall 2015

Date Released: 10 November 2015

President's Message

Photo of Linda Sharpe-TaylorWe are on our way

The African American Alumni Association (AAAA) of Case Western Reserve University has launched its mentoring program. More than 20 alumni from varied places and vocations have stepped forward to volunteer. Some mentors are retired; others are in exciting careers; some are recent graduates who have successfully launched a new career. These mentors are important people, giving back in a very important way, supporting those who are just getting started in their life’s work. 

Effective mentoring helps students connect with their better selves and their potential future selves. A good example of how this can be done is that of Pope Francis, who used his visit to the United States in September as a mentoring of the country. Francis highlighted some of the best qualities of the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thomas Merten. The mercy, social activism, civil disobedience and wisdom of these lives have become integrated as images of America’s collective character. Francis views these characteristics as strengths, which can be employed to overcome current challenges. Mentoring is about highlighting past accomplishments and strengths so mentees can apply these skills to overcome challenges.

If you would like to be a part of this process as mentor or mentee, please contact me at

—Linda Sharpe-Taylor, Ph.D (WRC '78)

Board Highlights the Louis Stokes Fellowship Fund

By: Mark Smith (WRC '75)

HeadshotThe Class of 1975 was well-represented at the 40th reunion celebration during Homecoming & Reunion weekend, 2015. In addition to connecting with friends and admiring changes to campus, several of us met with other AAAA Board members to discuss the future of African American students on campus and the Reach Back Raise Up Scholarship Fund Drive (RBRU).  RBRU is in the fourth year of a five-year campaign to raise $500,000 in support of the 10 scholarships for minority students listed below. The CWRU Board of Trustees matches donations up to $250,000, and thanks to the annual contributions of many, the campaign is well on the way to achieving its goal. Yet, a strong push is still needed for year five. If you have made your 2015 contribution, thank you. If you have not, please consider doing so at this time and encourage others to do the same.

A recent conversation explained why a close friend had never attended a CWRU reunion He said “The past is the past and coming back doesn’t help anybody now or in the future.”  To him, I offer this thought. The RBRU scholarship fund connects our CWRU experience, no matter how challenging or rewarding, to a successful future for current students.

Alumnus and former Congressman Louis Stokes spent a lifetime reaching back to impact the future. Whether advocating for education, affirmative action, housing and urban development, health care or another initiative, Stokes helped improve conditions for minority, working-class, and indeed, all Americans. The CWRU community mourns his passing. In his memory, the AAAA Board is highlighting the Louis Stokes Fellowship Fund. The Louis Stokes Fellowship in Community Development provides tuition scholarships and travel stipends to students already working in community development, in an intensive weekend program designed to accommodate work schedules and foster leadership among African Americans and Hispanics in this field. The fund goes to deserving graduate students in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

To contribute to the Louis Stokes Fellowship or another scholarship of your choice, please select designation on this link: No gift is too small. To help with this campaign, contact Mark Smith, RBRU Scholarship Fund chairperson, at or (443) 844.1699. 

Scholarships Supported by Reach Back Raise Up


Michael E. Fisher Scholarship Fund

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Award Fund

"Doc" Kelker Scholarship


Fred D. Gray Endowment- Law

Robert L. Haynie, M.D., Ph.D Scholarship- Medicine

Louis Stokes Fellowship Program Fund- MSASS

Norma Jean Schmieding Endowment Fund- Nursing

Virginia Lois Kennedy Scholarship Fund- Dental Medicine

Diane O. McDaniel Endowed Scholarship Fund- Management

Norman E. Wallace Legacy Fund- Management

Freshman Mixer

By: Tiarra Thomas (CWR '12)
Chair, Student Affairs Committee

On Friday, September 4, the AAAA joined Afro-Am and other groups in welcoming freshmen to CWRU. The African American Society’s annual Freshman Mixer introduces freshmen to alumni, fellow students and campus resources. Following a brief presentation by Afro-Am President Lacie Parham, students engaged upperclassmen and alumni in conversations about academics, campus life and life after graduation. 

Tables were manned by representatives from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Activities and Leadership, Study Abroad, University Counseling Services and the LGBT Center.

 The Brotherhood, Sankofa, African Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), NAACP, and the International Multicultural Exchange, organizations with a focus on underrepresented students, also shared information and answered questions. Food and dancing rounded out the evening.   

The Student Affairs Committee supports students throughout the year. For more information or to become involved, please contact me directly at

Photo of a group of people smiling for the camera
Left to right: Marven Cantave, Afro-Am President Lacie Parham, Afia Mensa, Nia Simmonds

Homecoming Highlights

By: Linda Wheatt (FSM '72, GRE '77)

Photo of a group of people smiling for the cameraWelcome Reception

Many cultures associate sunflowers with constancy and loyalty; others with intelligence and happiness. Thus, sunflowers were the perfect centerpieces for the AAAA Signature Welcome Reception and Candlelight Vigil on October 9. Alumni from more than four decades connected and reconnected at the beautiful Linsalata Alumni Center over delicious food and generous drinks.

President Linda Sharpe-Taylor opened the evening with a hearty welcome and a reminder for alumni to sign up for membership. Following a brisk walk to the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial, alumni honored Tubbs-Jones and other dear departed friends with lit candles and heartfelt words. Upon return to the Alumni Center, open yearbooks sparked stories of legendary doings, embellished, no doubt, by the passage of time. Music played and Bid Whist partners gathered at the card table.

Please visit our Flickr page for more photos.


The 10th Annual Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gospelfest engaged a packed auditorium at John Hay High School on Oct

ober 11. The concert was dedicated to the memories of Ohio’s first African American Congressman and first African American Congresswoman, change agents and CWRU alumni Louis Stokes and Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Following remarks by CWRU President Barbara R. Snyder, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and Mistress of Ceremonies Danita Harris, Anchor WEWS TV 5, Lucretia Bolden opened the musical portion of the program.  Lyrics "You don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box” from one of Stephanie’s favorite songs reminded attendees that they will never know what it cost Stokes and Tub

bs Jones to accomplish all that they did.

Anointed 2015 Sunday’s Best winner Geoffrey Golden and Grammy-nominated recording artist J. Moss brought the audience to its feet several times during the afternoon with their soulful, high-energy performances. Presentations by Marilyn Mobley, Ph.D, vice president, Office for Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, and remarks by Mervyn Jones, son of the late Congresswoman, concluded the uplifting program.   

Mark Your Calendars-Homecoming Weekend: October 13-16, 2016

Wedding Bells Wedding bells

Congratulations to the following newlyweds:

Kayla Wheeler (CWR '11, GRS '11) and Stephen Fleming (CWR '11)

Charity Taylor (CWR '13, MGT '13) and Kevin May

Kathleen Valdez (CWR '11) and Matthew Pernell (MGT '11)

Brittney Brown (NUR '11) and Kameron Terrell

Lydia Fields (MGT '11, GRS '12) and Gavin Bowman

In Memoriam Rose

Love leaves a memory no one can steal

Bonita F. Wiley (FSM ’72)

Please send notices to

Want to see who else is involved with the AAAA? AAAA Membership Roster. ‌It is easy to become a member. Just visit

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If you know of someone who does not receive AAAA communications but should, please contact Gretchen Sullivan at so that they may be added to the mailing list.