The Black Alumni Reunion (BAR), held Nov. 1-4, featured numerous events during which friendships were renewed and opportunities to support the next generation of students were provided. Among them were the Light on the Hill Society Scholarship Awards Gala, a golf tournament, performances by Harmonyx and the Ebony Readers Onyx Theatre, the Carolina Issues Forum and the Student Engagement Networking Session. Collectively, these events were highlights of the four-day Homecoming gathering that included more than 1,100 alumni and friends.
The Student Alumni Dinner and the #SuccessLooksLikeMe networking session were BAR’s signature student events. These gatherings provided excellent opportunities for current students to mix and mingle with Carolina’s alumni, faculty and staff. Ada Wilson, ’06 and ’09 (JD) was the keynote speaker at the Student Alumni Dinner. Wilson serves as assistant vice president for Access and Inclusive Excellence at Auburn University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity and provided insights into leadership and achievement during and after college.
Wilson began her remarks with a moment of silence in remembrance of those lost in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting just a few days earlier. She then reflected back to the shooting death of Philando Castile and how she felt compelled to provide visibility to it during a meeting with high-level leadership the day after the shooting. Wilson used her voice to help her new community to consider the effect of Castille’s death on the students’ well-being and urged them to make the students a focal point of the conversation and response. She then reflected on how her upbringing and time at Carolina had allowed her to find her voice over time. She encouraged students to create and foster places that are transformational, accountable, loving and brave.
Several awards were presented throughout the weekend as well, both at the Student Alumni Dinner and during the Light on the Hill Scholarship Awards Gala.
- Sophia McFarlane was named the Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Senior Award. Other finalists were Jordan Bermudez and Dominque Brodie.
- The Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding Black alumni who have been stellar leaders within the University community and/or within their local community, was presented to Katrina H. Avery ’82, ’91 (MD) and Samuel B. Perkins ’84.
- The James Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee and Floyd McKissick, Sr. Trailblazer Award, which recognizes a black alumnus who paved the way for African-Americans during the first 20 years of integration at Carolina, was presented to Walter A. Jackson ’67.
- The Hortense K. McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award, which honors a faculty or staff member, past or present, who has made outstanding contributions to the Carolina community, was presented to Linda Brown Douglas ’82.
- The Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes an African-American graduating senior who exemplifies a strong academic record, excellent leadership ability, positive community service/volunteer work and a demonstrated desire to strengthen the bond between current students and alumni, was presented to Atrayus O. Goode ’07.
Written by Rachel Tates