University Libraries to help host events for the Black Alumni Reunion
On Sunday, Sept. 18, Ohio University Libraries will host a get together for OHIO alumni attending the Black Alumni Reunion (BAR). With button making for mementos, the event will take place outside of Alden Library’s fourth floor near Wolf Garden and will conclude the weekend reunion activities.
Beginning on Monday, Sept. 11 and throughout the week of the reunion, University Libraries will also have a week-long display on the fifth floor of Alden Library to showcase materials from University Archives such as yearbooks, scrapbooks, student publications, photographs, sports programs and other historic OHIO memorabilia.
Bill Kimok, Ohio University archivist and records manager, has spent months preparing the historic exhibit. The display will include enlarged photographs of former students and a sideboard featuring posters of black speakers, performers and other social and cultural events that have taken place at OHIO over the years.
“This [the photo presentation] is often one of the most popular aspects of the display because the black alumni are an especially close-knit family, and they often recognize friends, classmates or even alumni from years beyond their own attendance at OHIO,” Kimok said.
One thing that Kimok considered as he curated the display was what feelings he wanted the alumni to experience. He noted that displaying materials that captured the history of black alumni and their experiences through the years was an important feature for the event.
“First of all, setting the mood for an alumni return is important in making the experience a memorable one for those who are returning,” Kimok said. “In my observation over the years, part of what drives alumni to return to Athens is sharing and re-sharing their rich memories of old times on campus with old friends.”
Although alumni most likely spent a good amount of time in the Libraries as students, they may not get the chance to come back and visit with such a busy reunion weekend itinerary. By hosting the Sunday, Sept. 18 Farewell, it's one way to get alumni back to the Libraries and remind them of their roots.
“Creating a historic display that includes University Archives’ materials is one more way of assuring that alumni will include the libraries as a significant and meaningful part of their experiences and memories here at OHIO,” Kimok said.