Building on the success of the African American Alumnae Network created by alumnae volunteers in 1994, Mount Saint Mary’s announced the establishment of its Black Alumnae Association in February. The focus of the Association is to strengthen the Black community at the Mount, build a professional network for alumnae and students and serve as important voice for our community. For Ann McElaney-Johnson, Mount Saint Mary’s president, the creation of the Black Alumnae Association is part of her commitment to fostering an anti-racist University.
The Center for Equity, Diversity and Justice, under the leadership of associate vice president Bernadette Robert, hosted dialogues with Black students, staff, faculty and alumnae in the early summer of 2020. Through these conversations, the Center developed recommendations to help address and deepen our understanding of systemic racism and racial equity.
McElaney-Johnson engaged our alumnae, hosting four learning sessions with Black alumnae during the final months of 2020. Through these conversations, she reaffirmed her commitment to being an anti-racist University and gathered input on the areas of focus for our Black Alumnae Association prior to its official launch.
The Black Alumnae Association’s volunteer alumnae advisory board provides input and guidance on programs and outreach. The new board members are Linda America ’95, Joelle Balthazar ’16, Erika Jones ’00, Remmington Junior ’01, Agasia Lanier ’05, Yahtina Macali Soto ’07 and Shelli Amber Weekes ’84.
“It is exciting to work with this new association,” says Tom Arteaga, director of alumnae relations. “The long-term positive impact our alumnae have on each other and on our students will last for generations to come.”
The dedicated group of volunteers who established the African American Alumnae Network in 1994 included Karen (McKnight) Compton ‘87, Shelli Amber Weekes '84, Leslie Cunningham ‘90, Brenda (Chappell) Tucker ‘65, Denise Goosby ’88 and Nina (Carter) Senovia Brown ’88. Several of these alumnae were involved in the conversations with McElaney-Johnson in the development of the Black Alumnae Association.