Gathering together. Celebrating progress. Reuniting at the place where the journey began. Paying it forward.
Through a series of events and gatherings, Black alumni have been building community across generations, strengthening their connection to the University, and harnessing the power of collaborative giving to pave the way for tomorrow’s leaders.
A testament to community
The summer kicked off with the second annual Bruno on the Vineyard event, hosted by Jill and Stephen Davis P’23. Nearly 150 Black alumni and guests congregated at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in August to enjoy music, refreshments, and conversations with their fellow Brunonians.
“We had a space to come together and celebrate our Black culture in all its glory,” says Kwame Campbell ’92. “It provided me with a sense of community that can never be broken.”
What had started as a small gathering to foster a greater sense of belonging for Black alumni living or vacationing on the Massachusetts island and surrounding areas has become something much bigger: it inspired alumni to take an active role in ensuring the success of current and future Black students at Brown.
“Our contribution is valuable,” says Bruno on the Vineyard event organizer Diane Johnson ’94. “I think having an event that has doubled its size in two years is a testament to who we are as a community and what we feel about this institution that we have given a lot to and also received a lot from.”
It’s a sentiment shared not only by Black alumni, but by University leadership. Brown President Christina H. Paxson, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity Sylvia Carey-Butler, Senior Vice President for Advancement Sergio Gonzalez, and Brown’s first-ever historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) presidential fellow Elfred Anthony Pinkard, PhD were also part of the Bruno on the Vineyard event, speaking to attendees about Brown’s future and its commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion—which is critical to the University’s mission.
“Hearing from the President, faculty, staff, and fellow alumni about their willingness to support specific initiatives that will ensure that Brown can continue to attract a diverse pool of students was refreshing,” says Harry Holt ’84, P’16.
This past fall, alumni were able to see that commitment further reinforced at the 2023 Black Alumni Reunion. The record-breaking celebration brought more than 1,100 Brunonians to campus, including alumni and current students.
Together, alums collectively envisioned the future of the community through lectures, receptions, and social events focused on the arts, entrepreneurship, and activism. Most notable was the multigenerational (Re)imagining & (Re)claiming Our Future Celebration Dinner.
“One of the wonderful things about these alumni gatherings is that we are enabling individuals to connect, contribute their talents, and give back in meaningful ways to their alma mater. This is an opportunity to come back to Brown and see the impact of our investments in creating and sustaining diverse communities now and for generations to come,” says Javette Laremont ’80, Corporation trustee emerita and member of the Black Alumni Reunion hosting committee.