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Trailblazer Project

Trailblazer Project Will Showcase Contributions of Alumni of Color With Portraits Across Campus

CWRU Alum the late
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
A portraiture initiative aimed at showcasing the contributions of Case Western Reserve University alumni of color and women and diversifying the images that appear in campus common areas was announced fall 2016.

“The Trailblazer Project” was unveiled by Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Marilyn S. Mobley, PhD, during the Diversity Think Forum session held in October during Homecoming Weekend. The forum focused on campus activism and featured an intergenerational panel. The Trailblazer Project will bring to campus portraits of alumni of color and women who have made significant contributions in their professions, community and/or to the university.

“The Trailblazer Project is a realization of a dream expressed by students, faculty and staff who wish to see broader representation of the university’s alumni within the common spaces of the university,” Mobley said. “The project will be a marvelous demonstration of the university’s commitment to diversity and will preserve the significant contributions of alumni of color and women.”

The initiative will be an ongoing project and portraits commissioned for the project will include, but not be limited to, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans and American Indians. Portraits will be placed in the Kelvin Smith Library and may be placed in other locations in the future. The first group of portraits are expected to appear around campus by next fall.

Some of the individuals to be included in phase one of the project include:

Judge Sara Harpe­r — She is the first African-American woman to graduate from the CWRU law school. She was also the first African-American woman appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Attorney Fred Gray  —  He is a leading civil rights lawyer who represented Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and victims of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

Architect Robert P. Madison  — He is president of Robert P. Madison International, an architectural and engineering firm. The firm has been involved with major Cleveland projects, including The Convention Center, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Ahuja Medical Office. Madison is a CWRU Trustee Emeritus.

Former Surgeon General David Satcher  — He is a national leader in public health. He served as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (posthumous)  —  She was the first African-American woman to become a Common Pleas court judge in Ohio and the first African-American women to serve as county prosecutor in the state. In 1998, she became the first African-American women elected to represent Ohio in the House of Representatives.

Louis StokesCWRU Alum the late
Congressman Louis Stokes
Congressman Louis Stokes (posthumous)  —  He was Ohio’s first African-American congressman. He served 15 terms and was a strong advocate for civil rights and those in need. The university’s biomedical research building was renamed in his honor. Stokes also served as a visiting professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Sciences.

“The launch of this project comes at a time when students across the nation, and even at CWRU have encouraged institutions of higher education to be far more deliberate in acknowledging contributions of diverse populations, through the naming of buildings and campus portraiture, ” Mobley said. The Trailblazer Project is being sponsored by the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity (OIDEO), Kelvin Smith Library and Division of Student Affairs. In addition, the project is expected to be supported by alumni, donors and external partners.

For more information about the project, contact Regina M. Gonzalez, OIDEO director of diversity & strategic initiatives at regina.gonzalez@case​.edu​