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Black Alumni Leaders Across The U.S. Lift As They Climb

The Black Alumni Collective hosts virtual leadership retreat in the Nation’s Capital

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Spring blossoms at American University

Washington, D.C. – April 1, 2021 – The Black Alumni Collective’s 2021 virtual leadership retreat will be held April 16-18, 2021 and hosted from the nation’s capital by American University’s Black Alumni Alliance led by Chair Kathy Russell. AU President Sylvia M. Burwell will deliver opening remarks for the event, which convenes Black alumni leaders from university associations and affinity groups for Black-identifying alumni across the country and internationally. At-Large Councilmember of the District of Columbia Robert C. White Jr., an AU alumnus, will also address the convening, as well as Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church.

The event, presented in collaboration with Black Alumni Collective, a national network of Black alumni volunteers, fosters a unique opportunity to leverage the university’s alumni in support of AU’s strategic plan, Changemakers for A Changing World, and the plan for inclusive excellence. The summit will also heighten visibility for the Black Alumni Alliance Book Award, a key equity-based funding initiative at AU that aids students in covering the costs of course-related books. Finally, the university’s participation supports an emerging national organization whose mission expands diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion efforts.

The 2021 Leadership Retreat is being developed by Black alumni leaders to explore new opportunities, examine trends and share best practices for successful alumni engagement. This year’s theme is “Lifting As We Climb” and represents an intent to continually uplift and open doors for the next generation.

“Alumni association leaders have an important responsibility in laying the foundation for continued success, innovation and growth among their alumni bases. Instilling a sense of pride, spirit and excitement is critical, and this conference serves as a tool in leadership development, strategic planning and collaborative engagement with peers from across multiple universities,” says Gordon-Andrew Fletcher, American University alumnus and co-chair of the retreat.

Student support is at the core of many alumni associations’ work and aligning Black alumni with current Black students is a mission-oriented goal. This retreat, with its online components, will offer Black alumni associations a unique opportunity to work side by side with Black student leaders to advance progress both on campus and beyond. 

The leadership retreat is a fully immersive learning opportunity for Black alumni, students, faculty and staff leaders from universities and colleges. 

For more information regarding the Black Alumni Collective and its 2021 Leadership Retreat, visit

Contact Information

Asantewa Boakyewa
Director of Multicultural and Affinity Engagement, Alumni Relations
American University
(301) 801-1078

Allyson Reaves
Black Alumni Collective