Black alumni return to campus for reunion

Students, faculty and alumni danced the night away at Black Ball


Anthony Kim, ’22, and Maya Hernandez, ’22, pose at Black Ball. Photo by Judy Park, ’22.

Judy Park

Nearly 50 alumni returned to campus last weekend for Black Alumni Reunion for panels, networking events and Black Ball. 

The reunion that takes place every other year is designed to recognize black alumni and connect them with black students currently on campus.

Dean of the College Lena Hill was the weekend’s keynote speaker. She spoke on Friday evening, March 8 about the university’s path toward a more diverse and inclusive campus community.

“What we see on campus today is not a product of just time passing by, but a product of people working hard and striving for better,” Hill said at her talk. 

Susan Swayze, ‘90, was in the second class of women attending the university. She echoed Hill’s statement. 

“It’s surreal because the campus has changed so much,” she said. “Walking around the campus, it’s evident that the students have changed. So much has changed.” 

Swayze is now a professor at George Washington University, teaching statistics to doctorate students and serving on dissertation committees. She said her return to campus reminds her to give back to the university.

“I feel like I’m contributing to the women that came after,” she said. “Just showing up and persevering, even though we didn’t only just show up.” 

Out of all the events, Black Ball, held in Evans Dining Hall on Saturday night, March 9, seemed to be a favorite, with more than 100 alumni, faculty and students in attendance. The Student Association for Black Unity (SABU) was in charge of hosting for the semi-formal dance event. The organization revived the event in 2015 after an almost thirty year hiatus.

“I definitely think that they should continue the Black Ball,” said Maya Hernandez, ‘22. “I had so much fun there than I did on a regular weekend.”

Dominique Broomfield, ‘22, said she loved the live band.

“I didn’t think the live band was gonna be great, but they were better than the music,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Amber Cooper, ‘12, the assistant director of admissions, helped organize the reunion. 

“I did not think that I would work here,” she said. “Now that I’m a staff member, I get to know people that were my professors kinda like colleagues. I get to see the behind-the-scenes, understand the outward-facing perspective and be able to change the community.”

Cooper said she hopes the reunion will continue in the future. 

“This is one of my favorite things,” she said. “I hope that young alumni will stay engaged, especially for this weekend.” 

Anjeli Hoskins, ‘22, said she’s already planning to come back to visit as an alum for Black Alumni Weekend.

“I wish it was a week, not a weekend,” she said. “I hope that this event gets bigger.”