Summer 2023 AAAA Newsletter

President’s Message

Members of the African American Alumni Association,

First and foremost, congratulations to the Case Western Reserve University Class of 2023, and welcome to the newest members of the African American Alumni Association (AAAA)!

We could not be prouder of your accomplishments in an educational journey that was truly like no other in history. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted your studies and extracurriculars, all of you stayed the path. We hope you remain involved with CWRU and become engaged with AAAA. We can’t wait to hear what you do next!

As we continue into the 2023-2024 academic year, I acknowledge we are entering a new era in which the attacks on diversity have now been amplified from the highest court in the nation.

President Eric W. Kaler affirmed the university’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we hope to be a strategic partner in ensuring those efforts not only continue but expand—making Case Western Reserve more accessible to all, particularly those impacted by the systemic inequities that continue to plague our nation.

The African American Alumni Association will continue to celebrate the accomplishments of its members; serve as an advocate for underrepresented students, faculty and staff; and be a steadfast presence in the campus community. 

Our latest newsletter offers a small glimpse of this, including highlights from Black Graduation and recognition of Black CWRU alumni entrepreneurs in honor of National Black Business Month. I hope you will join us in the journey!

Tiarra Thomas

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

Congratulations, Class of 2023!

Graduates pose at CWRU Black Graduation 2023

Written by AAAA Vice President Brian Webster (CWR ’11)

Members of the Case Western Reserve community gathered for the eighth annual Black Graduation in May to celebrate nearly 100 members of the Class of 2023. The pre-commencement event honors students from the African Diaspora who, through unyielding determination and academic achievement, successfully completed their degree programs. The ceremony acknowledges the sense of scholarly community among students, honors African and African American culture, and culminates in a stole presentation.

Brian Webster (CWR ‘11), vice president of the African American Alumni Association, welcomed the graduates to the alumni community and presented them with AAAA lapel pins. View photos from the event, taken by Randy Blackford from the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Fisher Scholarship Recipient

Michael E. Fisher championed the Black student community at Case Western Reserve in his roles as a university admissions officer and staff advisor to the Afro-American Society in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the spirit of his work, African American Alumni Association members established the Michael E. Fisher Scholarship in 2006 to assist undergraduates in their second year of study. Joshua Dadson, the 2022-23 scholarship recipient, expresses his gratitude below.

Dear alumni,

My name is Joshua Dadson, and I just finished my second year at Case Western Reserve University. I’m currently majoring in biochemistry and am on the pre-medical track. Originally from Austin, Texas, I moved to Accra, Ghana at the age of five, where I lived with my mother and attended the Association International School. 

As a freshman at Case Western Reserve University, I did not participate in many clubs on campus, although I did join the soccer team and was an active member of the African Students Association. This past year, however, I participated in many activities. I was a caucus liaison for the College of Arts and Sciences in the Undergraduate Student Government. I became an active member of Case Western Reserve University’s chapter of the Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity. Additionally, I served as a representative for Howe House in the Murray Hill Residential Community and joined many other clubs, including the Black Student Union, AfroAm Society, and the Brotherhood. 

This scholarship enables me to continue exploring my interests, while working towards my goals at one of the best research institutions in the world. I am beyond grateful for you and your generous donation.

Joshua Dadson smiles holding a trophy

After my undergraduate career, I plan to attend medical school. Without this scholarship, I would not have the chance to train and spend my life helping others as a doctor. I am thankful for the assistance this scholarship has given me and will continue to strive to make the most of it.

Joshua Dadson, Class of 2025

National Black Business Month

Kari Cunningham, wearing scrubs, holds her niece who holds a dental model; both are smiling

Written by Kari Cunningham, DMD (DEN ’10, ’12), Panther Pediatric Dentistry

August is National Black Business Month, established in 2004 by historian John W. Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan, Sr. to advance policies affecting Black-owned businesses and encourage greater economic freedom for Black communities.

Recent census data shows there are roughly 3.12 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, generating $206 billion in annual revenue and supporting 3.56 million U.S. jobs.

The national nonprofit SCORE asked Black businesses owners how people could best support them. Here are some of the responses:

  • Provide Black founders with more access to funding.
  • Promote Black-owned businesses on social media.
  • Pay them equitably for their work.
  • Patronize Black-owned brands and shop at Black-owned businesses.
  • Invest in businesses owned by Black women, the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the United States.

We want to promote your business in the AAAA Directory of Black Businesses. Please send your name, affiliation, business name, business focus, business email, website, and/or phone number to

CWRU Homecoming and Reunion Celebration, Oct. 12–15

Registration is live for Case Western Reserve’s 2023 Homecoming and Reunion Celebration, Oct. 12–15. 

Three members of AAAA dance at homecoming 2022

We have some great events you won’t want to miss, and exciting collaborations with other CWRU alumni affinity groups and student organizations. Check out some highlights below and register today.

Thursday, Oct. 12

  • Blue Bash on Freiberger Field

Friday, Oct. 13

  • Candlelight Vigil and AAAA Mixer

Saturday, Oct. 14

  • African American Alumni Association Annual Meeting (hybrid in-person and virtual event)
  • Grillin’ & Chillin’ BBQ Cookout
  • Multicultural Dance Night

Upcoming events

Envision Weekend, Aug. 18–20

The inaugural Envision Weekend is almost here. The three-day early arrival program is designed to help underrepresented minority students adapt to campus life and visualize the rich future ahead of them at Case Western Reserve. Join us in welcoming students to the CWRU community!

Friday, Aug. 18

Saturday, Aug. 19

  • Workshops, panel discussions and parent programming

Sunday, Aug. 20

  • Brian Webster (CWR ’11), AAAA vice president, gives advice to the incoming class and their families

For more details, contact Tiara Sargeant at

Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic, Sept. 3

Six members of AAAA pose for a picture at the Hall of Fame Classic

It is that time of year again! The Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic is an annual event showcasing the pageantry and excitement of game day on the campuses of many historically Black colleges and universities.

Watch the Morehouse Tigers take on the Virginia Union Panthers at the legendary Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. You won't want to miss the special halftime performance by Morehouse House of Funk and the VUU Ambassadors of Sound. 

Tickets are $45 each, and each alum can bring up to three guests. This event is open to the whole family, so grab your tickets today—we’ll see you in Canton!

Stay Connected

We want to keep up with you! Tell us your news, promote your business and share ideas for future newsletters. Email with your name, graduation information (year, school/program) and any relevant links.