ATHENS, Ohio (May 17, 2004) -- Ohio University's Black Alumni Weekend, May 21-23, is stacked with activities, as hundreds of black alumni will be treated to a smorgasbord of educational and cultural activities.
The weekend kicks off on Friday at noon when Ohio University's Templeton Scholars enjoy lunch with 89-year-old Arthur Templeton, the great grand nephew of John Newton Templeton, who became the university's first black graduate in 1828, in Baker Center's Maggie Davis Room. After the luncheon, Ohio University will unveil an Edward Cornelius Berry plaque at Alumni Gate on the corner of Union Street and Court Street. The Berrys made a large donation to Ohio University for the creation of the gate.
Edward Cornelius Berry (1854-1931) and Martha Jane Madry Berry (1855-1941) were the owners of the Berry Hotel, which stood in uptown Athens until it was demolished in 1974. The couple is known as pioneers in the hotel business and they are credited with beginning the traditions of providing Bibles, sewing kits, fruit baskets and cologne in patrons' rooms. The Berrys were major contributors to the southeastern Ohio community and Ohio University.
The Department of African American Studies and the Multicultural Genealogical Center of Chesterhill, Ohio, will host the third annual Community and Campus Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 22, at the Margaret M. Walter Hall Rotunda.
The annual event consists of a variety of activities and booths that celebrate the history and accomplishments of people of color in the Appalachia region. Exhibits from artists, historians, photographers and painters are a few of the items that will be on display. Entertainment will include musical and dance performances and a film festival featuring movies and documentaries from students and community members.
Ohio University President Robert Glidden, Chair of the Department of African American Studies Vibert Cambridge and Executive Director of Alumni Relations Ralph Amos will speak during the opening ceremony. The mayors of Athens and Chesterhill, Ohio, will read proclamations.
"This will be the biggest and best Community and Campus Day ever because it will have more of everything, including education, entertainment and participation," Cambridge said. "The fact that it is part of Black Alumni Reunion weekend is an added bonus that will make the returning alumni feel more at home. The whole weekend is a fine example of how a collaborative effort between the community, alumni and Ohio University can be very powerful and effective."
Community and Campus Day will also feature special tributes to Francine Childs, professor of African American Studies, and the late Alvin Adams, co-founder of the Multicultural Genealogical Center and the first black graduate of Ohio University's School of Journalism.
On Sunday, May 23, at 10 a.m., the Community and Campus Day Committee will unveil the Berry Hotel Commemorative Plaque in front of the Court Street Diner at 18 N. Court St. Frank Hale Jr., great nephew of the Berrys, Athens Mayor Ric Abel, Glidden and Ada Woodson Adams, co-founder of the Multicultural Genealogical Center and the widow of Alvin Adams, will be among the speakers. Local physician Harold Thompson III will host the ceremony.
The Athens Historical Society and Museum will host brown bag lunch discussions about the Berry Hotel every day at noon, from May 17-21. There is also a Berry Hotel exhibit that will be on display at the museum until June 30.
The public and media are encouraged to attend all of the events. For more information on the Berrys visit www.ohiou.edu/aas/happenings/berry/.
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