HISTORY oF THE ORGANIZATION
Throughout the 1970s various Homecoming activities occurred sporadicall through the efforts of Horace Walker, James Weathers, Dr. Robert Green, Charles Smith and other black alumni in Detroit, Michigan. But it was in 1980 that four individuals, Veda Dove Washington, Betty Ezell Nixon, Terry (Curly) Young 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(MSU). Gregory Eaton, Ernie Boone and Stan Washington assisted in the planning. Each of them took the names and addresses that they had of fellow alumni, developed a letter and sent it to their friends and asked them to pass the letter on to their friends in order to reach as many alumni as possible. Gregory Eaton provided the seed money to put the deposit down on the facility and for any other planning costs. What a gathering of fellow alumni and friends it was! Approximately 600 black alumni participated in the 1980 Homecoming at the MSU University Club. During the weekend an organizational survey was distributed to obtain information pertaining to the direction of future activities that black alumni were interested in. The survey responses were reviewed by the 1980 Homecoming committee. The responses indicated that there was an interest in establishing a formal organization and in continuing homecoming activities. In order to accomplish some of the goals black alumni and friends had indicated were important to them, the first efforts began towards organizing an effective organization. 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 the constitution and by-laws for MSU Black Alumni (.MSUBA) . 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 structure of the organization began to be formalized. Interim dues were established, the goals of the organization were developed and interim officers were elected. The interim officers were: President- Veda Dove Washington Vice President- Terry Young Secretary- Wanda Dean Lipscomb Treasurer- Lural Baltimore The organizational body also established three committees: Constitution and By-Laws, Homecoming and Newsletter. Eleanor Cattron Smith was elected as legal advisor and assisted in the preparation of the application for status as an incorporated non- profit organization. The incorporation papers were filed in September 1981. The formal incorporation date is October 28, 1981. The MSU Alumni Association approved our request as an affiliate group status on October 16, 1981 and the 1980 Homecoming Committee donated $1500 to MSU Black Alumni as organizational seed money with $1000 earmarked for scholarships. The first Board of Directors was elected at the first general membership meeting in October, 1981. The Board of Directors elected included: Terry Young, Dr. Ronald Goldsberry, Robert Brown, Terrie White, Betty Nixon, Ernie Costa, Jackie woods, Jack Pitts, Errold (Duke) Collymore, Jean Nash, Veda Dove Washington and Lural Baltimore. During those formative years local chapters and local chapter membership guidelines were developed. The first local chapters established were in: Lansing MI, Detroit MI, Washington D.C., New York, NY and Chicago IL. Local chapters were established to enhance the promotion of attending Michigan State University, scholarships and academic excellence in geographical areas throughout the nation. Additional local chapters have subsequently been established in Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; Dallas,TX; Grand Rapids, MI and Oakland County, MI. During each Homecoming weekend an annual membership meeting is held to report on the activities of the organization for the year, the financial status of the organization , the activities of the local chapters and to elect new Board of Directors where there are vacancies.
MSUBA is to support and promote the welfare and interests of black alumni, students , faculty and staff of Michigan State University. Our goals are to:
- Implement programs to enhance educational opportunities and the quality of life for blacks at MSU.
-Provide a framework for alumni, with interests common to the association, to meet both formally and informally for educational, professional and social purposes.
- Advocate the need for MSU to continue an active program of affirmative action in furtherance of black involvement and participation in all aspects of the university at all levels.
- Establish communication linkages between black alumni, students, faculty and staff at MSU to maintain a common awareness of issues being addressed or to be addressed by the association. - Mobilize financial resources to assist needy black students in their matriculation at MSU.
- Provide assistance in the recruitment of black students at MSU.
Throughout the years many black alumni have spent countless hours meeting with university officials and students to promote these goals in various ways. Communication linkages have been established to address the issues of importance to students and faculty. An MSUBA University Relations committee has been established. Networking is occurring with alumni and students to obtain an enhanced understanding of the current needs and financial resources are being provided. Black alumni throughout the nation have continued to come back each year to MSU to:
-fellowship with one another;
-recognize distinguished black alumni ,scholarship recipients and donors and;
-to advance the development, purpose and goals of MSUBA.
The initial investment of $1000 for scholarships in 1980 has now grown to an endowment at MSU with a market value of over $3 million. Since the academic year 2002-03 MSUBA has provided more than $575,000 in scholarship awards to over 200 students. MSUBA is considered as one of the most influential African American alumni organizations in the nation and continues to make a difference in the lives of many students.