UD’s Black Alumni Organization celebrates 40 years
Photos courtesy of the UD Archives and Don’t Judge Me Productions | Photo illustration by Christian Derr March 16, 2021
BAO helps open more doors for students of color
In 2021, the University of Delaware’s Black Alumni Organization (BAO) celebrates 40 years of camaraderie, fellowship, and supporting and connecting UD alumni from the Black, African-American community.
For the past four decades, the BAO has offered an avenue for its members to share in life milestones and gather for events on and off campus, including their flagship annual Homecoming tailgate and barbecue in collaboration with the Center for Black Culture (CBC) on UD’s campus.
“I often say that UD is the place I ‘grew up,’ and gave me my foundation for who I am today,” said Lionell Flamer, a 2004 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It's unbelievable to me that people I met as a teen would become my extended family. We laugh, we cry, we support, we love each other. We've been there for graduations, promotions, weddings, funerals, child births and everything in between. I'm fortunate to have the BAO as the vessel that keeps me and so many other of my extended family members connected to the University we love.”
When the BAO was created, its primary focus was to foster a community in which Black alumni could easily connect with each other. Since then, the BAO has expanded to mentor and provide a network to students as well.
“The BAO is the extension of the CBC,” said Stacy Yates, who graduated from the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration in 2005. “The BAO not only demonstrates the diversity of the University, but also that diversity is important to UD. It is the home away from home after you’ve graduated, and a way to remain connected and pull up those who come behind us.”
In 2009, dedicated members of the BAO came together to ensure the legacy of its members lives on with current UD students. Leadership donors created the Black Alumni Organization Scholarship Fund Endowment to support diverse students with outstanding academic achievement, financial need and involvement in extracurricular activities.
“As an alum, I know how grateful I was to receive scholarship assistance as an undergrad,” said Terrance Bowman, a 1995 College of Engineering graduate, who supports the BAO Scholarship Fund Endowment. “I’m happy that I have the opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation of scholars."
Since the scholarship was created, more than $18,000 has been awarded to nine Black, African-American students. Because the scholarship is renewable, students have the opportunity to receive support from this scholarship for multiple years in a row, ensuring steady, continued financial aid.
To honor the legacy of the BAO and its milestone anniversary, alumni and supporters of the organization are seeking to raise $25,000 to increase the impact of the BAO Endowed Scholarship, opening more doors for students of color who may be facing financial barriers.
“Scholarships like the BAO's provide Black, African-American students with an invaluable resource that makes it possible for them to enjoy their time at UD and graduate,” said Kasandra Moye, director of the Center for Black Culture (CBC) at UD. "Part of the CBC’s mission is to create spaces of belonging and support for Black students, which build lifelong relationships. Black alumni are family and integral to the work of the CBC. Our partnerships reinforce student success and community, foster pride, and preserve cultural traditions. I value and support the ongoing efforts and commitment of the BAO and Black alumni."
In addition to the scholarship, the BAO looks forward to an anniversary celebration during Homecoming Weekend in the fall. More details about the event are forthcoming.
To learn more about the scholarship or to make a gift, visit the BAO HenFunder, which is the University’s own crowdfunding platform.