Volume 1, Issue 1

Message from the President
Building a Legacy

African American Alumni Association President Iverson Banks-Bey (WRC '74) [far right] with Michelle Felder (CWR '99) and Christopher Vlahos, associate vice president of The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University.

Happy New Year! I am honored to have this opportunity to address the CWRU African American community.

Throughout my reunion journeys, I have often heard alumni express a desire for an African American alumni organization. I am proud to announce that this dream is now reality. In the fall of 2009, Raymond Henry (ADL ’72), our first president, helped to craft the constitution and bylaws for the CWRU African American Alumni Association (AAAA), and since October of 2010, we have been CWRU’s premiere alumni constituency group. The officers and committee members work diligently to preserve the legacy of the late Michael E. Fisher and the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones. Our mission statement reflects their spirit: “Case Western Reserve University’s African American Alumni Association’s mission is to serve CWRU African American students and alumni in a way that enriches and supports their academic, work, and professional experience by conducting affairs and engagements to foster lasting relationships.”

During Alumni Weekend 2011, the board developed a strategic plan for pursuing our mission. This significant accomplishment gives us direction for the next five years. Some of our additional accomplishments thus far are:

  • Support and Promote Scholarships: The Michael E. Fisher Scholarship, The Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Scholarship, The “Doc” Kelker Scholarship
  • Support for Outreach Events in 2011: African American Society’s Ebony Ball; Office of Undergraduate Admissions Minority Student Reception; Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Unity Banquet; Office of Civic Engagement and Learning Alternative Break to New Orleans; CWRU Alumni Association’s Tempus Transitus; Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity’s Speakers Series, Alumni Weekend Gospelfest.

In the upcoming year, the Association will be supporting: Casino Night Fundraiser (February 11, 2012), Admitted Student Reception, Alumni Admission Program and Alumni Weekend (AAAA Reunion).

Moving forward, we hope to strengthen our participation and influence by connecting with other campus groups including Hispanic undergraduate students and alumni, Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate, CWRU’s professional schools, black professional organizations and Upward Bound.

Our success, thus far, is attributed to the hard work of the membership and some very special help. We thank President Barbara R. Snyder; Chris Vlahos, associate vice president of the CWRU Alumni Association; Deborale Richardson-Bouie, PhD, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs; Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD (GRS ’87), vice president for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity; Sharon Jordan-Davis (SAS ’94, CWR ’98, MGT ’00), director of constituent development, College of Arts and Sciences and Janice Eatman-Williams (SAS ’01), assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning.

We invite you to visit our web page and follow us on Facebook. By completing a short survey you will become a member of CWRU's African American Alumni Association. Contact us directly at cwruaaalumni@gmail.com.

Come grow with us. Join the journey. Enrich the legacy. Share the vision.

Iverson Banks-Bey, President, African American Alumni Association

Alumni Spotlight
Linda Sharpe-Taylor, PhD (WRC '78)

The Alumni Spotlight highlights African American Alumni Association members who are furthering the CWRU legacy, either by directly serving CWRU or by serving the broader community.

The first highlighted member, Linda Sharpe-Taylor, PhD (WRC’78), was selected because of exemplary professionalism and compassionate service to her community. As a student, Linda was involved in many activities on campus. The same tenacity that earned her a starting guard position on the women’s basketball team and a presidency of the African American Society, has also served as an invaluable asset in her chosen field of clinical psychology.

Linda obtained a Master’s Degree in clinical/community psychology from Cleveland State University in 1980 and a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1995. She currently serves sexual trauma victims in her role as clinical supervisor for the St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center and maintains a private practice. Linda and husband Blaine Taylor (WRC ’75) have three adult children.

Why have you chosen to become involved in the African American Alumni Association?

Linda: I value the education and experience I had as a student at CWRU. It was not easy for me. I was a young student from a predominantly Amish rural community. At first, I did not feel comfortable on campus, but the friendships that I eventually made, as well as the community we developed for ourselves and the support of people like Dean Kilpatrick strengthened me. By the time I left the university, I was comfortable with my academic and social abilities. This has given me a tremendous amount of confidence throughout my career. I want that for every student at CWRU. I especially want that for African American students. Also, I am having a lot of fun renewing old friendships and making new ones through the association.

What is the most rewarding thing about your work at the Regional Sexual Assault Center?

Linda: Estimates regarding the prevalence of sexual assault suggest that between 13 and 25 percent of adult women, and 3 to 4 percent of adult men have experienced this form of abuse. The impact on the spirit and psychological functioning of the victims is tremendous. Despite this negative impact, it is extremely rewarding to be part of a process where victims move from surviving to thriving. It is personally rewarding to see individuals recover despite the odds and to witness victory over victimization. This is a repeated theme in human development. Acknowledging the victory over victimization will always be vital to our humanity and cannot be over-stressed.

If you hadn’t become a clinical psychologist, what might you have done?
Linda: I love being a psychologist, but if I had to choose another career, I would be an art museum curator. Art presented in a thoughtful way can inform others about many aspects of our history and how that history relates to our current lives. The best presentations of art also educate about the history surrounding the art and connect the art to what is current. For example, Van Gogh’s paintings of haystacks become more meaningful in the context of the French Revolution. For another example, the curator at Shaw’s House here in St. Louis included information about the lives of the slaves of Henry Shaw, the founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden, but used the words people or person instead of the word slave. Henry Shaw owned “people” has a different impact than Henry Shaw owned “slaves.” That simple, but thoughtful word choice has an impact on viewing the exhibit and educates the viewer.

What is your favorite CWRU memory?

Linda: Without a doubt, it was walking along Bellflower in 1977 and realizing the person I was walking with was going to be my husband (although, it was about three years before he realized the same thing). Blaine and I were married in 1980.

What quote would you like us to remember?

Linda: One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Avatar. Mo’at was a wise leader of her people. Her quote highlights how learning and humility complement each other: "We have tried to teach the sky people...but it is hard to fill a cup already full." I hope to always be open to new learning and to continue to add to a spacious cup.

Upcoming Events

Don't Miss Casino Carnivale — February 11, 2012

New Association member Shereen Sherman
(SAS ’11), center, with other service journey

Alternative Break service journeys are sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement & Learning (CCEL) at Case Western Reserve University. They were first launched by students and staff from the CCEL office in 1999, with a trip to a native reservation in South Dakota. Katrina Relief service journeys began in 2005 after the hurricane hit the Gulf Region.

In March 2012, the ninth service trip will stop in Birmingham, Alabama, on the way to New Orleans, to support tornado relief efforts that continue there after twisters wreaked havoc in the south last spring. Alternative Break relief efforts focus on issues of education, access to health care, environment/green projects, and (affordable) housing.

Students must make a financial contribution for their participation, but because of the challenge to participate in these excursions on a student’s budget, the planning team hosts various fundraisers to help reduce the costs for students. With major support from the African American Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University, this year’s event theme is 'Casino Carnivale.' In keeping with New Orleans culture, 'Casino Carnivale' is an elegant evening of light gaming, delicious food, and great music.

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Gries Center of Hawken School, 10823 Magnolia Drive, Cleveland, OH Semi-formal/cocktail attire is requested.

Register here for 'Casino Carnivale.'

Thank you,
—Janice Eatman-Williams (SAS ’01), assistant director, Center for Civic Engagement & Learning

Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2012!

Don't miss the 2012 African American Alumni Association reunion, held September 27-30, 2012.

What would you like to see highlighted in future newsletters? Your ideas are appreciated. 
Contact us at cwruaaalumni@gmail.com.

Case Western ReserveUniversity

Case Western Reserve University