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Northwestern University Black Alumni Association



The first official use of the name Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA) was in a NUBAA Newsletter sent to alumni in February, 1977; this newsletter described the formation of a steering committee to develop a Black Alumni Association which occurred at an October 2, 1976 meeting of more than 100 Black alumni at the Black House. Black alumni had been informally meeting with Dean Milton Wiggins of African-American Student Affairs over the summer of 1976 to plan the event; the Black Alumni Planning Committee for the event included Eileen Cherry, Stanley Davis, Nelson Bryant, Robert Moore, and Clinton Bristow. The duties of the steering committee were described as follows in the October 2, 1976 meeting agenda: "1) to establish a communication system among Black Alumni, and current Black students and affiliates of Northwestern University. 2) to survey current Black students and Alums to see if the problems perceived exist. 3) to develop programs that address themselves to the perceived problems. 4) to innovate future programs that will be beneficial to both Black students and Alums." The members of this steering committee were Ulysses Blakely, Sidmel Estes, Gilton Cross, James Tucker, Alvin Ponder, Lois Blackmore, Nelson Bryant, and Bob Moore. The Black Alumni Association officially formed in April of 1982. Between 1976 and 1982, other names for the association were temporarily used; a March 2, 1979 newsletter from the "Northwestern University Lawyer Taylor Alumni Council" states that the name was intended "to honor the first black who in 1903 graduated from Northwestern University." The inaugural edition of the Black Alumni Report describes the 1982 founding: "On April 2, 1982 a group of concerned alumni met to discuss the need for a Black Alumni Association at Northwestern University. These alumni recognized that such an organization could help serve the needs and aspirations of Black alumni and undergraduates from Northwestern. They decided it would be best to focus on two main issues: the establishment of a strong communication network among black alumni and the improvement of relations between Black alumni and undergraduates." This report describes the six Committees that would comprise NUBAA: Planning and Development, Student Affairs, Membership and Communication, Programing and Special Affairs, Alumni Admissions Council, and Budget and Fund Raising. NUBAA at this time also had the stated goals of creating a regularly published Black Alumni Newsletter and Black Alumni Directory. Between the October 1976 meeting which formed the initial steering committee to develop NUBAA and the April 1982 founding of NUBAA, efforts were ongoing; the February 1979 edition of Blackboard, The Official News Organ of For Members Only discusses the work of Zina Jacque, alumna and then-Assistant Director of Undergradute Admissions: "Her current project is the establishment of the Black Alumni Association. The first step, compiling a list of 864 Black Northwestern graduates, has been completed. It will be called the Lawyer-Taylor Alumni Association..." In an interview with inaugural President of NUBAA, Bob Moore (SPS '88, MSJ '89), he describes one of the main goals of NUBAA at its founding as supporting current Black students at Northwestern and serving in an ombudsman-like role during their time at the university. He describes how NUBAA affiliated with the Northwestern University Alumni Association in October of 1986 (the year he became the first President of NUBAA), whereas between 1982 and 1986 the Association was operating similarly to a program under the Department of African American Student Affairs based out of the Black House. A document from the initial October 1976 meeting elaborates on the reasons for the delay in affiliating with the NU Alumni Association: "A formal Black Alumni Associaiton would constitute a special constituency group. Mr. Payson Wild, Coordinator of Special Constituency Alumni Groups, appears receptive to the idea of a Black Alumni Association. However, many black alumni have expressed apprehension at affiliation with the University Alumni Association, given its present goals. These people are opposed to supporting an organization that will not acknowledge the institutional racism of the university nor initiate policy to eradicate it." [See file "Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, 1976-1997" of collection Records of the Department of African-American Student Affairs.]

The Northwestern University Alumni Association (NUBAA) current (as of 2021) mission statement is to "deepen its members' commitment to Northwestern and support the University's efforts to recruit and graduate more African American scholars... by providing extensive alumni networking opportunities and financial support for programs designed to increase the Black student population, including scholarships." Other NUBAA Presidents include Jeffrey Sterling, '85 and Willard Evans ’77, ’81 MBA, and MaryAnn Marsh ’85. [Quotation from: Northwestern Alumni Association - Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA) webpage, at URL:]

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Records of Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA)

Identifier: 32/5

Collection consists of records of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (NUBAA), dating from circa 1968 to 2018, including approximately 1.6 linear feet (4 boxes) and 36.3 gigabytes of born-digital files of organization records, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and artifacts.

Dates: circa 1968-2018