As I write this note, my last official “President’s Letter” to all current and future alumni and members of the U of A Black Alumni Society, it is a bittersweet moment to extend greetings to each of you. I also want to say “Happy Belated Mother’s Day” to my sisters and “Happy Belated Father’s Day” to my brothers who are blessed to be such!
A huge and sincere “Thanks” goes to our 2013 BAS Reunion Committee, ably led by Synetra Gilmer and Ebony Wyatt, and especially to you for making the 2013 Reunion a grand, enlightening, uplifting and memorable occasion. Heeding your recommendations to return the reception back to the campus at the Alumni House on Friday night and the banquet back to Saturday night enabled more people to attend, reunite and socialize. It also resulted in our largest banquet (516) over the last six years. Coupled with better weather, Gus and Oliver did another phenomenal job with the golf tournament on Friday morning. “You” made “your” Saturday morning BAS Board Meeting the largest attendance since the Clarion meeting many years ago. The Sunday morning worship services at St. James were also well attended. The purely fun events (step show, after parties) were well attended and highly successful again. However, the highlight of the weekend for me was the Friday afternoon panel discussion during which the students, our progeny, had the opportunity to engage with a widely varied panel of alumni professionals. It concluded with an outstanding, informative and interactive networking workshop/exercise. This event was well received by the students, the very core of and reason for our existence.
Not only was the reunion successful from a fun, numerical and educational standpoint, it was also very successful financially. I realize that not everyone could attend the reunion and I especially want to thank those who contributed
from afar. Your philanthropic support was more evident than ever this year. As of now, due to your attendance, your philanthropy and the support of our many reunion sponsors, it appears that we will net over $30,000 in support of our scholars, our students and our future alumni. Although one of our best and one of our most successful reunions, it is not our best and cannot remain our most successful effort. No matter how many goals we achieve, I always recall the encouragement given to me by my high school French teacher, “The rungs of a ladder were never meant to rest upon, only to hold one’s foot longer enough to place the other somewhat higher.” We will not be completely successful until we can fully fund the tuition of each and every one of our African-American students matriculating at our alma mater. I fully concur and hope you agree with Dr. Erica Holliday, one of our award recipients who said, “I’ll never rest until my good is better and my better is best.” Therefore, I accept the challenge and thereby challenge each of us to strive to make our best even better!
I would be remiss if I did not personally thank Angela Monts, who does so much, so often and for so many others! She has been and remains a true blessing to the University of Arkansas and the U of A Black Alumni Society. Angela, “Thanks a trillion!” God has a special blessing, just waiting for you.
I want to say “Thank You” again for permitting me the honorable opportunity and the humbling privilege to serve you as your president these past two years. It has truly been a pleasure working for you along with your board of directors. This highly versatile group of competent, caring and compassionate professionals made my job easy. However, it was you, my fellow alumni and members of the U of A Black Alumni Society who made it a rewarding and even more humbling experience. My steadfast request is that you continue to “Think Back, Look Back, Come Back and Give Back” as we continue to “Honor the Past While Building the Future,” the strategic theme chosen by our incoming president, John L. Colbert. He is the superb choice as our president. My final request is that you join me in complete support of him and his administration as he leads us to higher heights. We will get there, but only together!
A Luta Continuum,
Bobby W. Jones, M.D.