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Summer 2013 - Volume 2, Issue 2

Date Released: 6 May 2013

Message from the President: Greetings, Alumni

President Alicia GravesI extend greetings to students and alumni in this, our sixth newsletter. I have had an amazing year serving as president of the African American Alumni Association. We have accomplished plenty, and there is still more to come. First, allow me to congratulate all of the students in the class of 2013. Your hard work and dedication has paid off in a tremendous way. The CWRU experience is one that will serve you well. I wish you all the best in future endeavors and look forward to seeing the footprint that you leave in this world. Again, congratulations! We embrace you as alumni and excitedly anticipate your involvement with the Association.

The AAAA Board (see below) is working diligently to ensure that we meet the needs and expectations of our students and alums. The Alumni-Student Mentorship Program will be unveiled at the beginning of fall semester. We are in the planning phase for our next major event, which will take place during Alumni Weekend 2013. The “Reach Back—Raise Up” Fund Drive for African American Students is off to a great start, and we continue to champion this initiative. Have a fun-filled summer, full of relaxation and involvement in your community. And, remember to stay tuned for the next chapter of the African American Alumni Association.

Commit to this journey. Enlist a fellow alum. Bridge the gap. Offer your insight.

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

 2013-2014 African American Alumni Association Board of Directors

Current Officers

Alicia Graves (CWR '05) - President
Brian Anthony (CWR '06) - Vice President
Aqueelah Jordan (CWR '04) - Secretary
Jeanne Madison (WRC, MGT '97) - Treasurer

At-Large Members

Sandra Allen (FSM '71, GRS '72)
LarKesha Burns Askew (CWR '09)
Sharon Jordan Davis (CWR '98, MNO '00)
Debra Lewis-Curlee (WRC '74)
Linda Wheatt (FSM '72, GRS '77)

Brian Anthony, Alicia Graves, Sharon Jordan Davis, Jeanne Madison, and Linda Wheatt represented the African American Alumni Association at the CWRU Alumni Leaders Conference on campus April 26-27, 2013. Conference workshops provided opportunity to confer with members of the overarching alumni association and leaders from 15 other alumni chapters and networks. The AAAA was recognized as one of the best-organized networks, with a fully staffed board and nearly 30 percent of its total alumni engaged. Please contact board members at to get involved or propose an idea. Your input is invaluable.

Congratulations, Graduates!

GraduatesJanice Eatman-Williams (MNO ’01)

The African American Alumni Association is pleased to recognize the achievements of the more than 120 students of African heritage who graduated in May. These students obtained degrees in all disciplines – Accounting and Business, Dentistry, Humanities, Law, Medicine, MSASS, and STEM- and at all levels- BA, BS, MA, MS, DDS, JD, MD and PhD!

They are award-winning, receiving the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Award, invitations to Mortar Board, and departmental honors and scholarships. They graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude.

Even in this tough economy, many have already landed positions, and although some will move on to other cities, many have chosen to launch their professional careers right here in Cleveland. Brain gains all around! Congratulations to everyone on your success, and welcome to the roster of Distinguished Alumni of Case Western Reserve University. We applaud your accomplishments!

Giving News: Reach Back—Raise Up!

Erma Leaphart-Gouch (WRC ’75) and Mark Smith (WRC ’75)

5-4-3-2-1! The “Reach Back—Raise Up!” Scholarship Pledge Drive has been launched and is rocketing toward success. Everything is in place to accomplish the goal of this historic endeavor, to raise $500,000 over a five-year period in support of university efforts to provide additional resources for African American students.

Many of us were fortunate enough to receive scholarships that made our matriculation at CWRU possible. This drive will help to continue that tradition. We appeal to all friends and fellow alumni to build upon the triumphs already evident and help foster a new generation of scholars. This is a wonderful opportunity to say "thank you" and pay forward the benefits of a CWRU education. Your donation, big or small, will go a long way toward reaching our goal. There are eight (8) supported funds, both undergraduate and graduate, from which to choose.

Go to, and click on “choose your designation” for the full list of giving opportunities. Thank you for climbing aboard as we shoot for the stars.

Campus News: Not a Typical Campus Barbeque!

LarKesha Burns Askew (CWR ’09)

On April 23, 2013, the African American Alumni Association hosted its first-ever barbeque for students, staff, and alumni. But this was not your typical campus barbeque with hot dogs and flyers. On the quad, in the middle of campus and surrounded by academic buildings, students, staff, and alumni of every race, gender, age, and academic focus gathered to the sound of the DJ’s latest music and the smell of delicious grilled food. Lunch time was indeed the perfect time to attract students just completing class and eager to eat and mingle.

The experience was inspiring. More than 100 people networked, shared goals and career aspirations, enjoyed lunch, and line-danced. Occasionally a student asked, “What is this event for?” The reply was simply “to celebrate you”.

Students appreciated the support of alumni who made themselves available as resources and mentors. Alumni enjoyed the opportunity to share knowledge and show students that it is important to remain connected to the university after graduation. The African American Alumni Association genuinely cares about the next generation of CWRU alums and encourages their influence on future Case Western Reserve University graduates. Look forward to the next student-staff-alumni event.

Summer Social

Sharyse JonesSharyse Jones (SAS '08)

“Food, fun, and fellowship” was more than an alliteration when the African American Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University kicked off the season with a Summer Social on June 13, 2013. Participants gathered at the Take 5 Rhythm & Jazz Tappas Lounge in downtown Cleveland, the ideal setting for developing and reaffirming relationships.

Mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres and delicious drinks were in abundance. The guest list spanned the decades, from the 1970’s to the most recent graduates of 2013 and was a diverse representation from undergraduate schools, as well as from such graduate and professional schools as the Weatherhead School of Management, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and the School of Law. The smooth jazz sounds of Aura topped off the evening, and a great time was had by all. Stay tuned for the next sensational affair. We hope to see you there!

SAVE THE DATE! We look forward to seeing you at Homecoming, September 26-29!

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