AAAA Summer 2018

President's Message

image of Linda Sharpe-Taylor

My time as President of the African American Alumni Association is ending. The last four years have been a blessing. I have served with board members who consistently had my back. Thank you.  Dr. Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, who supported me from the beginning. Thank you. Brad Crews, Senior Executive Director, and Christal Crosby, Assistant Director, Student, Young Alumni and Affinity Programs of The Alumni Association, thank you both so much for all of your help. The Association has a solid foundation and is integrated into the fabric of CWRU. There is much to celebrate.

Under President Barbara R. Snyder’s leadership, there has been increased support for African American students. She responded to students of the “We Belong Here” movement by naming the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Residence Hall. Additionally, the university launched the Student Success Initiative, with key indicators of success that alert staff early to students who are struggling, so that support can be given before the crisis point. The College of Arts and Science, headed by Dean Cyrus Taylor, launched the Emerging Scholars Program (ESP) through which students spend the summer before their freshman year on campus, getting academic support and taking classes. This program is designed to promote academic success for students entering CWRU from Cleveland-area schools.

Giving from African American alumni is increasingly generous. The funding of scholarships through the Reach Back, Raise Up campaign is being strengthened by the work of Anne M. Borchert, AVP of Corporate Relations and Strategic Projects. For example, Janine Spears, MBA (MGT '94) signed a $300,000 letter of intent for an endowed scholarship at the Weatherhead School of Management, earmarked for underrepresented students from the city of Cleveland. Another alumnus gave $10,000 to support the Doc Kelker Scholarship. Goals for the number of participants and total amount given in the Diversity Now Campaign in February were exceeded because of collective membership efforts.

The Nord Family Greenway, opened in May, 2018, eases pedestrian walking between the university’s main and west campuses and improves campus accessibility for the surrounding community. This 15-acre commons offers open-air spaces suited to performances, picnics and even quiet contemplation. Next time you’re on campus, be sure to enjoy the stroll.

These are examples of the attempts to improve campus climate for all students and for African American students in particular.  The atmosphere is substantially better than it was 50 years ago, though it is not perfect. In my estimation, the stain of racism on our institutions will never be removed. The consequences of the path that started in 1776 as a compromise regarding the humanity of the African slave are not avoidable. Racism is a disease without a cure. It goes into remission, but then reappears without warning. It is frightening and debilitating.

It is an unceasing challenge to define what it means to be human and what must be done to heal our institutions from current manifestations of the illness. Case Western Reserve has organizations like Afro Am and the African American Alumni Association to help it stay relevant as we continue to dialogue about who we are.  

There are many things still left to be done. Retaining the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Gospel Fest as an important connection between the university and the surrounding community, returning African American Studies and Diaspora Studies as options for students, and hiring more African American professors in all disciplines are issues to be grappled with in the next round of the fight.    

Thank you all.  It has been a pleasure to serve with you as President of the African American Alumni Association, 2014 to 2018.  

—Linda Sharpe-Taylor, PhD (WRC '78)


Two deserving AAAA members have been chosen to receive CWRU Alumni Association Awards. These awards will be presented during the annual Homecoming Luncheon on October 12, 2018. Congratulations to Donte Gibbs (CWR ’10, SAS ’12), recipient of the Young Alumni Award and Janice Eatman Williams (MGT ’01, SAS ’01), recipient of the Newton D. Baker Distinguished Service Award.

Awards Deadline Approaches

Please help us identify candidates for African American Alumni Association Awards.

stephanie tubbs jones picture.jpg

Previous Winners

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Leadership Award
2010 Robert Madison (ARC ’48)
2012 May Wykle, PhD (NUR ’62, ’69, ’81)
2014 Harold McCrae (ADL ’65)
2016  Vincent Holland, PhD (GRS ’79, sociology)

Ella Mae Johnson Leadership Award
2010 Fred Gray (LAW ’54)
2012 Judge Annette Butler (FSM ’66)
2014 Joan Southgate (SAS ’54)
2016 Donald Freeman (ADL ’61)

Rising Star Award
2010 Alicia Graves (CWR ’05)
2012 Paul D. Adams, PhD (GRS ‘00, chemistry)
2014 Gayle Williams-Byers (CWR ’96, LAW ’00, MNO ’00)
2016 Dr. Kari Cunningham (DEN ’10, ’12)

The African American Alumni Association is the only CWRU affinity group to honor our alumni with awards. Please select the applicable link(s) below to nominate one or more candidates for the 2018 African American Alumni Association Awards. Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. on August 17.

The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Leadership Award

Recipients of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Leadership Award are African American CWRU graduates who provide service to the broader community and demonstrate loyalty to the university through participation and/or financial support. They demonstrate strong effective leadership and resilience in the face of adversity.
Learn more and nominate > 

The Ella Mae Johnson Service Award
Recipients of the Ella Mae Johnson Service Award are African American CWRU graduates who have made a difference in the lives of others. They have provided direct service to the university and the community through volunteerism and civic engagement.
Learn more and nominate >

The Rising Star Award
Recipients of the Rising Star Award have graduated within the past 15 years and demonstrated the potential for long-term distinction.
Learn more and nominate >

Questions? Email us at

Nominate Now

The CWRU African American Alumni Association will hold elections for Board of Director positions at its biennial membership meeting on October 13, 2018. The nomination process is now open.

View the nomination form here.

Please help us identify future leaders by making nominations. Self-nominations are encouraged! The deadline is midnight, September 15. If you nominate more than one member for a position, please separate the names with a comma. No one may run for more than one position on the ballot. The term of office is two years, and officers may serve only two consecutive terms. However, after their terms have expired, officers serve another two-year term as members of the Board of Directors.

A brief description of positions is provided below:

President: Calls and presides over the Board of Director (BOD) meetings and performs other duties pertaining to that office. In consultation with and with approval of the BOD, the president appoints the chairpersons of all committees and fills any vacancies on the board. The president serves ex-officio on all committees.

Vice President: In the event of the absence, disability or resignation of the president, performs the duties of president. The vice-president may serve as chairperson of a committee, other than membership or program.

Secretary: Records minutes of the BOD meetings and business meetings of the association, preserves copies of publications and documents of special importance to the association. Sends out meeting notes to all members of the BOD.

Treasurer:  Submits financial reports to the BOD.

Directors at Large: Duties of the Directors at Large are detailed throughout the CWRU African American Alumni Association Constitution and By-laws. Please note these documents for additional information at You must be a member to vote in the upcoming election.  Whether you are currently a member or seeking to become a member, it is important to update your membership.

Don't be left out of the picture!

AAAA photo from Reunion 2001

Photo: Reunion 2001

Join us for Reunion 2018

Embrace the Past/Impact the Future

Signature Welcome Reception - Friday, October 12, 2018
Linsalata Alumni Center
6 - 10 p.m.

Kick off the weekend with food, games, a candlelight vigil and special networking opportunities. Students and families are welcome.

Membership Meeting - Saturday, October 13, 2018
Meeting site TBA
9 - 11 a.m.

Get important updates and vote to guide the direction of the Association.

Black Student Union Meet and Greet - Saturday, October 13, 2018
Leutner Pavilion
1 - 4 p.m.

Connect with current students in a relaxed atmosphere.

Dinner Dance and Throwback Party - Saturday, October 13, 2018
Thwing Center - Excelsior Ballroom
6 - 10 p.m.

Celebrate award winners and get your dance on during this festive evening which features five decades of music and a cash bar. Dress as you did when you were on campus.
Prior to September 1, 2018-  $30
After September 1, 2018- $40

Inspirational Breakfast
Linsalata Alumni Center
9 - 11 a.m.

Feed your body and soul through fellowship with other CWRU alumni.
Cost: $15

Register today

Afro Am - The First 50 Years
Kelvin Smith Library
Throughout the weekend

View a photo tribute to the African American Society.

Student Affairs

Black Graduation
Photo from Black Graduation

Photo: Christopher Hicks

The Tinkham Veale University Center was the site of the third annual Black Graduation on May 18, celebrating students of the African diaspora and appropriately themed Forging A Legacy.  It was an emotional evening as graduates reflected on their many accomplishments as a group, including establishing a Black Student Union uniting five organizations, helping to reinstate a minor in African American Studies, and presenting the first black business bazaar. Keynote speaker Dr. Joy Bostic encouraged them to choose their battles wisely because “Some battles take you off course.  Don’t just make your place in this world; make this world a better place.” Student Affairs chair Tiarra Thomas (CWR ’12) offered congratulations from the African American Alumni Association, welcomed the graduates with Association pins, and advised them of the many ways to stay connected. Students also participated in the university commencement on May 20. 

International Friendship Program

Help CWRU's international students feel welcome in Cleveland! Case Western Reserve University's International Friendship Program helps students transition to life in the U.S., offers hosts the unique opportunity to learn about diverse nationalities and cultures, and serves as a springboard for friendships that last beyond a student's time at CWRU.

Each year faculty, staff and alumni hosts are matched with international students. Hosts and students get together to enjoy home-cooked meals, events on campus and outings in Cleveland.

There are many international students starting at CWRU this fall. We hope that you will consider welcoming one of them to Case Western Reserve and to Cleveland. Hosts will be matched with international students in August and September.


Afro Am Election Results

The AAAA congratulates the 2018-2019 African American Society Board

Jasmine Floyd, President
Kendall McConico, Vice President
Oluwatimilehin (Timi) Salami, Secretary
Levite Pierre, Treasurer
Munyaradzi Mangwende, Public Relations
Tasha Johnson, Historian
Andrea Doe, Community Outreach Coordinator
Diona James, Upperclassmen Representative

President Jasmine Floyd looks forward to working with the AAAA this year.


Thank you to the eighty-five donors who participated in the Reach Back Raise Up spring fundraising campaign. Nine minority scholarships will benefit from their generous contributions, which increased total available funds by nearly 20 percent. If you’d like to make a gift, please visit the giving page. 

‌Want to see who else is involved with the AAAA? AAAA members as of April 2018.

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