December 7, 2016
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Princeton University Encourages Black Alumni To Become More Involved

 

**'Connect' encourages black alumni to become more involved with Princeton 
University**

A new alumni-led enterprise will involve black graduates more deeply in the 
life of Princeton University as leaders, volunteers and donors. 

Efforts are now under way with "Connect: A Black Alumni Leadership 
Initiative" that officially kicked off at an October conference, "Coming Back 
and Moving Forward," when some 650 black alumni returned to campus to 
share experiences and plan for progress at the University. Goals for the 
initiative include raising $4 million, expanding volunteer opportunities, learning 
more about prospective donors, and partnering with the Alumni Association 
and Association of Black Princeton Alumni to find fresh approaches to 
engaging volunteers and donors.

The Connect initiative is part of Aspire: A Plan for Princeton, the University's 
five-year comprehensive fundraising campaign, now in its third year.

"To sustain and strengthen Princeton's excellence in teaching, learning, 
leadership and service, we depend on the involvement of all our alumni," said 
President Shirley M. Tilghman. "We deeply appreciate the diversity of our 
alumni body and the many contributions black alumni have made to Princeton. 
We look forward to working with them to create even more opportunities to 
participate in the life of the University and help shape the Princeton of the 
future." 

University trustee Dennis Brownlee, a 1974 alumnus, and trustee emeritus 
Brent Henry, a 1969 alumnus, are co-chairs of the 14-member steering 
committee that will drive the Connect initiative, along with a 25-member 
advisory committee. 

"The University has changed, but there's a lot of change yet to be done," 
said Brownlee. "We have to take ownership of our Princeton experience and 
give back, for the sake of the students who are here now and the students 
yet to come."

Nearly 3,300 alumni (87 percent undergraduate and 13 percent graduate 
alumni) have identified themselves as black or African American, either 
through the University's Office of the Registrar or a recent Alumni Directory 
survey. More than half of them (54 percent) graduated in the classes of 1990 
to 2008. 

INSPIRING CHANGE

The impetus to create the Connect initiative originally came from a 2006 
conference called "Coming Back and Looking Forward" that drew some 500 
black alumni, many of whom had not returned to campus since graduation. 
That conference coincided with the establishment of the Center for African 
American Studies, which had been expanded from an existing certificate 
program and relocated to the historic Stanhope Hall on the front campus. 

Since then, Princeton has further expanded its commitment to diversity. The 
core faculty of the center has grown from nine to 17, with an additional 18 
faculty members from other departments as associated and affiliated 
members. In 2009-10 it is offering 36 courses. In 2008-09, with 41 students, 
the center ranked in the top five out of Princeton's 42 certificate programs. 

Other campus initiatives undertaken in the past three years include 
renovating 58 Prospect, a former eating club, as the new home of the Fields 
Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding and Community House; 
reaffirming Princeton's commitment to the strongest possible undergraduate 
financial aid program; and increasing the internationalism of the campus by 
expanding opportunities for study and service abroad. In the class of 2013, 
more than 37 percent of the students come from minority backgrounds.

 


Media contact: Emily Aronson, earonson@princeton.edu, (609) 258-5733


STORY TAGS: princeton, university, black, alumni,

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