Fall/Winter 2023 AAAA Newsletter

President’s message

Members of the African American Alumni Association,

It is my pleasure to greet you as we enter one of my favorite times of year—the holiday season. It is a chance to come together, reflect, and show appreciation for those around us and the blessings that have been bestowed on us. Though this world is filled with chaos, I hope the holiday season brings you peace and joy.

With that sentiment in mind, I am grateful for the African American Alumni Association (AAAA) and each of you as we continue our work in engaging, supporting, and recognizing African American alumni, students, faculty and staff at Case Western Reserve University. I ask for your continued support, whatever that looks like for you, and I look forward to continuing this work alongside you all. 

Throughout this newsletter are opportunities to engage and fellowship with one another. I encourage everyone to join where you can!

While homecoming was nearly two months ago now, it was a pleasure to see many of you throughout the weekend, whether in person or virtually. This year looked a little different as we explored some exciting opportunities for collaboration with the Latinx Alumni Association, as well as students from the African American Society and La Alianza. Thank you to all who could join us—and for those who couldn’t, we hope to see you next year!

Save the date: CWRU’s 2024 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend is Nov. 14–17, when we will hold our elections, dinner dance and other signature events.

We want to hear your feedback on our programming. We invite you to complete our homecoming feedback form, whether you attended this year or not, so we can create more meaningful engagement opportunities. Plus, doing so will automatically add your name to a $25 Amazon gift card raffle!

I always enjoy our newsletters, as they offer an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni, students and staff. I hope you enjoy this newsletter as much as I do!

Tiarra Thomas

Wishing you all a happy holiday season.

Warmest regards,

Tiarra Thomas (CWR ’12)
President, African American Alumni Association
Case Western Reserve University

The Keyword is Fun: Homecoming 2023

A group of AAAA members gather on the steps of Linsalata Alumni Center

“The Keyword is Fun” was not just the name of the icebreaker at the African American Alumni Association game night in October, but also the theme for the entire Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. 

Not even gray skies and raindrops could dampen spirits as alumni returned to campus—some for the first time in 50 years. Candles shone brightly at the annual vigil in front of Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ statue, illuminating both memories of loved ones and support for students. Back at the Frank N. and Jocelyne K. Linsalata Alumni Center, Del’s Catering supplied the food and group games supplied the laughter. Even the bar attendants chuckled at their stations.

Following the Saturday morning business meeting, attendees returned to the Linsalata Alumni Center for the Grillin’ and Chillin’ Cookout and continued the merriment. Latinx Alumni Association President Omar Gutierrez (CWR ’12) taught Salsa and Bachata steps later that evening, and AAAA members coached others through popular line dances as the two groups partied in Thwing Student Center. If music is the universal language, joy is a close second. 

Zhara Edwards

Michael E. Fisher Scholarship

The African American Alumni Association congratulates new alumna Zhara Edwards (CWR ’23), who is a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow in Washington, D.C. Edwards is a past recipient of the Michael E. Fisher Scholarship, endowed in 2006 and named in honor of an influential staff advisor in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Learn more and give to a Reach Back, Raise Up scholarship

Full Ride

President Eric W. Kaler recently announced that eligible Cleveland and East Cleveland public high school graduates admitted to Case Western Reserve University will receive financial support covering the entire cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, on-campus housing, books, supplies, and personal expenses. Students will also receive a mentored, paid research or internship experience on campus. 

Read about the program, including eligibility requirements, and share the news with your network. CWRU’s application deadline is Jan. 15, 2024.

Two prospective students stand outside on CWRU campus, having a conversation

Profiles of Inclusive Excellence

The African American Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve, in partnership with the university’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement, and the African American and African studies minor, continues to present Profiles of Inclusive Excellence. This program of in-depth conversations with faculty and staff from across the campus is now in its third year, with each speaker being interviewed by Heather Burton, PhD, associate vice president and senior director for faculty and institutional diversity. 

Andre Mickel

In the first session of the 2023-24 academic year, Andre Mickel, DDS (DEN ’91, ’94), shared his personal and professional journey, crediting several mentors from CWRU School of Dental Medicine. Mickel chairs the Department of Endodontics at Case Western Reserve and serves as director of the Postgraduate Endodontic Program.

Adrianne Fletcher

On Nov. 20, Adrianne M. Crawford Fletcher, PhD (SAS ’05), expressed excitement about returning to CWRU after serving a one-year term as the inaugural director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Supreme Court of Ohio. Fletcher is associate dean for equity and belonging at Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, and vice dean of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at CWRU School of Medicine.

See more Profiles of Inclusive Excellence recordings and register for upcoming discussions

Felder & Co.

Michelle Felder wears a bright orange hoodie that reads "Thurgood Marshall," standing in front of a wall of greenery

Michelle S. Felder (CWR ’99) is founder of Cotton Blocks, a fashion brand celebrating the Black American experience, as well as creative genius and CEO of Felder & Co., a company with subsidiaries that range from event planning to luxury concierge and lifestyle management services.

We want to promote your business in the AAAA newsletter and include it in our directory! Please email alumnirelations@case.edu with your name, CWRU affiliation, business name and focus, business email, website, and phone number.

NAACP logo

Stay involved

In August, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced the reinstatement of the Case Western Reserve University Chapter, marking a significant collaboration with the Greater Cleveland NAACP Chapter. If you're eager to contribute or learn more about engaging with this chapter, complete the interest form. Join us in championing equality and progress within our community!

Executive Leadership Development Experience

Weatherhead School of Management’s Executive Leadership Development Experience (ELDE) is designed to grow the leadership capabilities of Black professionals and provide pathways for career advancement. ELDE draws from Weatherhead’s expertise in developing impactful leadership programs and is taught by instructors that rank among the most distinguished business scholars, coaches and consultants in the world. 

Participants will explore a number of relevant leadership topics with a cohort of other Black leaders, meet senior executives from across the region, work one on one with an executive coach and be matched with a mentor.

Applications are open for the five-month program (beginning February 2024) for qualifying professionals with at least 10 years of professional work experience and five years of management experience. For additional information or to become a corporate sponsor, call 216.368.1503, email signatureprograms@case.edu or visit weatherhead.case.edu/elde.

People gather around a table, looking at a sketch of a house. A white play button is superimposed on the image, indicating it is linked to a video.



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