OHIO gearing up for its largest Black Alumni Reunion to date

Published: September 7, 2022 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Alumni Association’s triennial Black Alumni Reunion (BAR) returns to the Athens Campus Sept. 15-18, and the 2022 celebration is already poised to make OHIO history.

More than 2,000 alumni and friends of the University – the largest turnout for the event ever – are expected to return to campus for a weekend rooted in OHIO’s past, present and future.

“Ohio University’s Black graduates and friends have made lasting and meaningful contributions that have enriched our University in countless ways,” President Hugh Sherman said. “I am honored, and our entire University is honored, to welcome these proud Bobcats home for this special weekend.”

The largest alumni gathering outside of Homecoming, BAR offers three days full of activities designed to connect graduates with their former classmates, the students following in their footsteps and the place that ties them all to one another. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Honoring the Past, Building the Future.”

In honoring the past, BAR participants will be treated to college/school open houses, the always-popular Through the Decades Cookout, and the BAR Gala, an evening celebrating OHIO’s African American heritage and featuring keynote speaker Dorian Spence, BBA ’06, vice president of strategy and programs at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The gala will also include the presentation of the Ebony Bobcat Network (EBN) Trailblazer Awards, created 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. Click here to read about 2022 Trailblazer Award recipients Elmore “Mo” A. Banton and George E. Reid, BGS ’90, MSPE ’91. 

Pictured is the logo for Ohio University's 2022 Black Alumni Reunion.

Saturday’s festivities kick off with the return of the BAR Memorial Run/Walk, which hasn’t been held since 2010. More than 100 BAR guests have registered for this 5K event that offers a special way for alumni to remember and pay tribute to lost loved ones. 

In building the future, BAR festivities will include Friday’s Student and Alumni Networking Event – one of the first BAR events to sell out this year and featuring a panel discussion amongst OHIO students past and present, followed by a mini career fair. 

Saturday will include another early sell-out, the EBN Breakfast and the presentation of several alumni awards, highlighting the event’s theme, “Celebrating Black Excellence.” The EBN Breakfast will be followed by the President’s Town Hall, during which President Sherman will provide a state of the University address and take questions from attendees.

The weekend caps off with the energetic and entertaining BAR Variety Show Saturday evening at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium and Sunday morning’s BAR Farewell, scheduled to take place for the first time on OHIO’s historic College Green. The Ohio University Alumni Association is partnering with University Libraries for the farewell, which will feature University archives and an opportunity for BAR participants to make a keepsake button to remember the weekend and their time on campus.

“We really want to make this the best Black Alumni Reunion to date,” said Tyrone Carr, MED ’00, director of alumni diversity initiatives, who has spearheaded plans for the past two BAR weekends and served on the event’s planning committee for approximately 15 years. “My goals for BAR 2022 are fun-raising, friend-raising and fund-raising!”

Plans for OHIO’s BAR are coordinated by the Ohio University Alumni Association and a volunteer planning committee composed of alumni, faculty, staff and – starting this year – students. The chairs of this year’s planning committee are Ashley Ferguson, BSJ ’06, and Dell Robinson, BSPE ’88. 

Ohio University’s Black Alumni Reunion is open to all OHIO graduates. For more information about BAR 2022, including opportunities to give in honor of the Black OHIO graduates of the future, click here. 

Bobcats are also invited to join the Black Alumni Reunion group on The Bobcat Network to connect with fellow alumni and BAR attendees and to receive updates on BAR 2022.