Published January 25, 2022 by Bowdoin News

Bowdoin Announces Creation of the Black Alumni Association

The purpose of the new Bowdoin College Black Alumni Association (BCBAA) is to support and advance the mutually beneficial goals and objectives of Black alumni of Bowdoin College
The journey to create the BCBAA began with a gathering hosted by President Clayton Rose for Bowdoin multicultural alumni in April 2016. A seed was planted with a few small meetings and then germinated with the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the African American Society (now Black Student Union), AF/AM/50, in November 2019.

Since then, Black alumni from many different decades had more than a dozen meetings, large and small, to garner alumni support, and the association was formally chartered on December 13, 2021.

The BCBAA’s constitution reads, in part:

The BCBAA was founded in recognition of the impact that Bowdoin College and its faculty, students and staff have had upon our personal lives and that of our children, nation and world.  We also recognize the pioneering social justice work of the first Black graduate of Bowdoin, John Brown Russwurm (a member of the Class of 1826).

Vision statement: To champion the flourishing of African diaspora via engagement in social justice, cultural preservation and artistic expression, economic empowerment and viability, and ecological responsibility and leadership in Association with all persons and entities earnestly so pre-dispositioned.
BCBAA MISSION STATEMENT 

The Association will strive to correct the historic wrongs against and obviate the inequities experienced by the Black community of Bowdoin College. We will provide and promote effective leadership regarding the well-being of the Association’s members, as well as the students, faculty, and staff of Bowdoin College and the greater common good of African diaspora.This endeavor will be accomplished through education, mentoring, advocating, pro bono initiatives, business development, and community building.

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(L. to r.) Elected BCBAA officers: Trustee emeritus Michael Owens '73, P'15, president; Sherrone Torres '12, vice president; and Praise Hall '20, secretary.

The group is led by more than twenty peer-nominated members of the Coordinating Council who represent alumni from the 1960s to current student representation. The Coordinating Council elected the following leadership officers.  

  • President, Michael Owens '73, P'15, trustee emeritus  
  • Vice President, Sherrone Torres '12 
  • Secretary, Praise Hall '20 

Several committees will carry out the important work of the BCBAA for years to come:

  • BCBAA Role in Society (community service) 
  • Scholarship and Financial Aid
  • Mentorship
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion  
  • Cosponsorship (liaison to other alumni groups)
  • Events 
  • Communications

“I am thrilled that we have reached the goal of the formation of the Bowdoin College Black Alumni Association,” said BCBAA founding president Michael Owens ’73, P’15. “The [election of the CC members] is a sentinel milestone in the development of our organization.” 

BCBAA was created with the support of Bowdoin’s inaugural director of multicultural alumni engagement, Joycelyn Blizzard.

“The creation of BCBAA is a historic achievement for Bowdoin College, as it is the first of its kind to support a specific racial identify group within the alumni community,” said Blizzard. “As the College progresses, we look forward learning how we can support other alumni communities of color.”
 

With the first meetings underway this spring, BCBAA looks forward to sharing more about the group during Reunion Weekend, June 2–5, 2022.