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September 29, 2023

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Black alumni featured in presentations

The “Taste of February: Out of Many, One” event Friday night kicked off Black History Month on campus, featuring student presentations of notable black alumni of the University.

Organized by the Office of Residence Life, Black Graduate Student Organization and SMART, a residence life peer mentoring program, the event served to educate students, faculty and the community on the efforts and contributions of former black University students.

The event was hosted in the Union ballroom.

Mae Evans, a junior, came to the event to learn about local history.

“I thought it would be an opportunity to learn more about the black community here on campus,” Evans said. “The event helped me jumpstart into the spirit of Black History Month.”

The various presentations, given by students involved in SMART, featured both former students’ accomplishments on campus and in their careers after coming to the University. This included black students in leadership positions on campus, academic achievements, Greek Life involvement and athletic success.

Freshman A.J. Napper said he was surprised to hear the presentations.

“I didn’t even know we had events for Black History Month besides Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service,” Napper said. “It was cool to learn about the different achievements blacks had in sports that went here.”

Ana Brown, Coordinator of Diversity and Retention Initiatives at the University, helped organize the event to celebrate African American alumni and educate students.

“The goal of this program is to raise awareness about alumni who scarified,” Brown said. “It is to help students learn about people who came to BGSU and were successful.”

Brown felt that many of the students don’t know about the many achievements blacks have made in the University.

“The speeches gave a lot of rich history,” Brown said. “For example, the first person to receive a Ph.D in BG was an African American male.”

Taylor Hawes, a sophomore, was excited to learn about and celebrate black history.

“I came from a high school that was predominately white, so I didn’t get much diversity,” Hawes said. “Being here in BG and going to events like this help me learn more about my own history.”

Hawes said it was surprising how many people were mentioned during the program.

“I didn’t know that so many famous people came from BG, especially blacks,” Hawes said. “There were so many people mentioned that I never have heard of before.”

In the end, Hawes was impressed with the program.

“I think that [SMART] did a great job,” Hawes said. “The talking atmosphere and fun entertainment speaks to the masses on a better level, and makes learning about African Americans more fun.”

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