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Campus & Community

‘Surrounded by So Much Excellence’

Inaugural Black Alumni Weekend Celebrates Terps’ Past and Future

By Maryland Today Staff

DJ and crowd dancing

DJ Malcolm X, also known as Malcolm Whitfield ’11, gets the crowd on its feet at Saturday night's Gift of Giving Gala, one of the signature events of the first Black Alumni Weekend.

Photos by Korey Hopkins '11

More than 700 Terps returned to the University of Maryland for the first Black Alumni Weekend to reconnect, reminisce and revel in the accomplishments of their peers.

Organized by the Alumni Association and the Black Alumni Network, the three-day celebration featured more than a dozen events, including three signature ones—the Gift of Giving Gala, a “Terpchella” music festival and Sunday brunch—that all sold out.

Following an evening of tours and welcome events, Saturday’s lineup included meeting Black alum state legislators, the unveiling of the Nyumburu Center's Ambassadors and Friends Wall, and a walk through the new Jones-Hill House, named after trailblazers Billy Jones and Darryl Hill. Jones broke the color barrier in basketball at Maryland and the ACC in 1965 and Hill was the first Black student-athlete to play football at Maryland and in the ACC in 1963.

The gala, presented in conjunction with the Alumni Steering Committee and the Student Success Leadership Council, was hosted by former NBA player Len Elmore ’78 and council President Lauren Hamilton ’22. Among the honorees:

  • Willie May Ph.D. ’77, former director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was presented the Legacy Award;
  • Maryland’s first female Black mathematicians, Tasha R. Inniss Ph.D. ’00, Sherry E. Scott Ph.D. ’00 and Kimberly S. Weems Ph.D. ’00, were presented with the Trailblazer Award;
  • Victor Mullins, associate dean in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, was presented with the M. Lucia James Impact Award;
  • Auzinea Bacon ’24 and Uchenna Aduaka ’21 were presented with the Alexandra Givan & Damien Pinkett Involvement Award;
  • The Black Pre-Law Association was presented with the University of Maryland Black Alumni Network Award.

Terpchella, an outdoor family-friendly music festival, showcased alum artists and local talent, including Chelsey Green Ph.D. ’17 and The Green Project, Terrell ‘Rell’ Battle ’04 and O-Slice ’16. Black Alley Band, managed by Cameron Poles ’02, also performed.

In addition, representatives of several Black Terp-owned companies were on hand promoting their goods and services during a business expo that offered information on around 70 other such businesses and promoted the new Terp Referral Exchange Business Directory.

Brandi Monique '05 said Black Alumni Weekend brought her back to campus for the first time in nearly 17 years.

"The feeling was nostalgic. But it was also one filled with pride,” she said. “Meeting new people and connecting with old friends filled my spirit in a way that has not been done since COVID. I was surrounded by so much excellence that it inspired me to do more."

Len Elmore '78, James Brown '82, Cherisse McKenzie '10, Scott Simpson '93, Lauren Hamilton '22, Iyana Moore '22 and President Pines

The Gift of Giving Gala featured, from left, co-host Len Elmore '78 and event speakers James Brown '82, Cherisse McKenzie '10 and Scott Simpson '93, co-host Lauren Hamilton '22, speaker Iyana Moore '22 and university President Darryll J. Pines.

Tima Hawes '06, Andrea Jackson '08, Ja-Nee Jackson '06 and Shiron Lindsay '09 take a selfie.

From left, Tima Hawes '06, Andrea Jackson '08, Ja-Nee Jackson '06 and Shiron Lindsay '09 reunite with a selfie.

Two alums with cupcakes

Naa Koshie Bannerman '20 (left) of Cakes by Jasmine and owner Jasmine Kelly '18, M.P.S. '20 sold out of their treats during the Black Terp Business Expo at Terpchella.

Rapper O-Slice performs

Rapper and Prince George’s County native O-Slice, a 2016 graduate, performs at Terpchella.

Pines greets crowd

University President Darryll J. Pines greets Terps at the first Black Alumni Weekend.

Testudo dances as Chelsey Green plays

Testudo dances to energetic classical-funk-pop-jazz music by Chelsey Green Ph.D. '17 and The Green Project at Terpchella.

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