MSUBA History

MSUBA History

Throughout the years Homecoming activities occurred sporadically through the efforts of Horace Walker, James Weathers, Dr. Robert Green, Chuck Smith and other black alumni from Detroit, Michigan. However, it was in 1980 that four individuals, Veda Dove Washington, Terry (Curly) Young, Betty Ezell Nixon and Lural Baltimore decided that they wanted to plan a homecoming weekend program for their fellow black alumni and friends near the campus of Michigan State University. Gregory Eaton, Ernie Boone and Stan Washington assisted in the planning. Each alumnus took the names and addresses that they had for fellow alumni, developed a letter and sent it to their friends and requested each of them to forward the information to their friends. Gregory Eaton provided the group with seed money to put a deposit on the facility and other planning costs. The gathering among friends was exceptional! Approximately 600 black alumni and friends participated in the 1980 Homecoming at the MSU University Club. During that Homecoming, an organizational survey was distributed, and the survey responses were reviewed by the 1980 Homecoming committee. The responses indicated an interest in establishing a formal organization and in continued homecoming activities.

In December 1980, the committee met with the MSU Alumni Association to discuss possible affiliation. The committee worked from December 1980 through April 1981 to develop a constitution and by-laws for MSU black alumni. The constitution and by- laws and a request for charter membership as an affiliate were submitted to the MSU Alumni Association in May 1981.

During June 1981, the group began to formalize activities. Interim dues were established, and interim officers were elected: President, Veda Dove Washington; Vice President, Terry Young; Secretary, Wanda Dean Lipscomb; and Treasurer, Lural Baltimore. The organizational body also established three committees: Constitution and By-Laws; Homecoming and Newsletter. Eleanor Cattron Smith was elected legal advisor and she assisted in preparing to apply for status as an incorporated non- profit organization. The incorporation papers were filed in September 1981.

The MSU Alumni Association approved our request for affiliate group status on October 16, 1981, and the 1980 Homecoming Committee donated $1,500 to MSU Black Alumni as organizational seed money with $1000 earmarked for scholarships.

The first Board of Directors was elected in October 1981 which included the following alumni: Terry Young, Dr. Ronald Goldsberry, Robert Brown, Terry White, Betty Nixon, Ernie Costa, Jackie Woods, Jack Pitts, Errold (Duke) Collymore, Jean Nash, Veda Dove Washington, Lural Baltimore. Chapters began to be established in all areas of the country, Detroit, Lansing, Washington D.C., New York, and Chicago to promote scholarships and academic excellence for students attending Michigan State University.

In 1996, the MSU Endowment Scholarship Fund had grown to over $750,000.