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Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Published: September 22, 2022 Author: Story from staff reports, Photos by Ben Siegel, Rich-Joseph Facun and Dylan Benedict

It was a weekend filled with honoring the past, connecting to the present and building the future at Ohio University’s triennial Black Alumni Reunion (BAR). Hosted by the Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA) in partnership with the entire OHIO community on the Athens Campus, BAR 2022 (Sept. 15-18) brought thousands of OHIO alumni back to the bricks and the place that forever ties them all to one another.

It was a time to reunite with former classmates and friends while forging Bobcat bonds with the students following in their footsteps. It was a time for reliving college memories and creating new ones. It was a time to reflect on progress made and engage with campus leadership as the OHIO community forges into the future. It was a time to remember those lost and to celebrate those whose contributions to campus, community and the world embody excellence.

“This cherished tradition brought together Bobcats from across the country and the pond including Denmark, South Africa and Botswana, to celebrate the University’s black alumni and their unique and substantial contributions to the OHIO community,” said Ty Carr, BAR Director and Director, Alumni Diversity Initiatives. “We are proud to acknowledge their commitment to advancing Ohio University and its students.”

Jenn Shutt Bowie, BSJ ’94, MS ’99, interim associate vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the OUAA amplified the sentiments of BAR Gala Keynote Speaker Dorian Spence, BBA ’06, who serves as vice president of strategy and programs for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law in Washington D.C.

“Mr. Spence, in an eloquent and powerful address, shared with us the three words that, for him, sum up the Ohio University experience,” said Bowie. “He started with ‘love’ — the love for people that's defined here. Second was ‘community’ — the ‘sacred and special’ community that's created here. ‘Our alumni are not visitors,’ he said. ‘This is home.’ And finally, ‘fidelity’ — life-long loyalty and support that is Forever OHIO. I couldn’t have chosen three better words to sum up Black Alumni Reunion: Love. Community. Fidelity.”

It was four days that not only made Ohio University history – as the largest BAR to date – but built on the rich history and deep commitment of OHIO’s Black graduates and friends whose love for alma mater spans decades.

Here’s a look back at BAR 2022 and just a few of the many moments of Bobcat love, laughter and fellowship.
 

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Dr. Salome Nnoromele, interim vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, addresses students and alumni during a special Black Alumni Reunion sneak peek at the National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza that is being constructed on OHIO’s College Green. 

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Senior Jerwon Thomas, vice president for the National Pan-Hellenic Council at Ohio University chapter, discusses the significance of this new landmark on College Green. The new plaza honors the National Pan-Hellenic Council – composed of historically African American fraternities and sororities, which have had a presence at OHIO for more than a century.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman noted how the plaza not only celebrates but creates awareness of OHIO’s National Pan-Hellenic Council. Scheduled for completion in November, the plaza will feature the names and information about each of the council’s fraternities and sororities.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

OHIO graduates on campus for Black Alumni Reunion were among the first to get a glimpse of the progress made on the plaza – and an opportunity to reconnect with their National Pan-Hellenic Council brothers and sisters.

Two people hugging at the Black Alumni Reunion 2022

Karla Reid, BSJ ’93, with sons Quinn and Devin, accepts the Ebony Bobcat Network (EBN) Trailblazer Award on behalf of her late husband, George E. Reid, BGS ’90, MSPE ’91, at the Black Alumni Reunion Gala. The EBN Trailblazer Award, established to recognize people of color who have made significant contributions to society and the University by charting new territory and/or being the first to mark an achievement at OHIO, was also presented to Elmore “Mo” A. Banton. 

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

After months of planning, Dell Robinson, BSPE ’88, is all smiles at the BAR Gala. Robinson and fellow OHIO graduate Ashley Ferguson, BSJ ’06, co-chaired the 2022 BAR planning committee, composed of alumni, students, faculty and staff.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Held in the Baker University Center Ballroom, the BAR Gala included moments to remember those who have passed on, to celebrate those who made their marks at OHIO and beyond, and to honor the University’s Black heritage.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

BAR Gala attendees were treated to the sounds of the Urban Jazz Coalition.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Amid the glitz and glamour of the evening were moments to just bask in Bobcat togetherness.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

BAR Gala attendees could be seen sharing some photos of their days as OHIO students – and taking some new ones.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Saturday’s Black Alumni Reunion festivities kicked off bright and early with the return of the BAR Memorial Run/Walk, a 5K event during which more than 100 participants paid tribute to those gone but not forgotten.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

BAR Memorial Run/Walk participants pick up their event T-shirts and stickers that allowed them to display the loved one or ones they were running or walking in memory of.

Black alumni reunion celebration participants walking on a path together

The BAR Memorial Run/Walk took place along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway and the banks of the Hocking River.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

OHIO graduate Robert Norton, BBA ’06, participated in the BAR Memorial Run/Walk in honor of the “OU 70’s Group alums.”

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

OHIO alumni, students and staff took to the AstroTurf at Walter Fieldhouse the morning of Sept. 17 for a Soccer Tournament hosted by the Pan-African Alumni Network. The World Cup-style event brought Bobcats, including international alumni returning for BAR, together for friendly competition and fun.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Soccer Tournament participants and supporters gather for a group photo.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

Participants relax and socialize between matches at the Black Alumni Reunion Soccer Tournament.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

OHIO alumni and students packed Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium the evening of Sept. 17 for one of BAR’s most anticipated events, the Variety Show.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

From musical and dance performances to dramatic sketches, the BAR Variety Show brought OHIO alumni and students together for an evening of fun and fellowship.

Black Alumni Reunion 2022: Four days of Bobcat love, community and fidelity

In one of the last events of BAR weekend, alumni and students light up OHIO’s historic Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, named in honor of John Templeton and Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn, OHIO’s first Black male and female graduates.

View and download additional photos from BAR 2022.