The Ohio State University has a long rich history of Black alumni and pride should be taken for all of our graduates. From the challenges of admission in the late 1800’s to today’s selective enrollment, Black students have succeeded at Ohio State.
In 1981 in an effort to bring together those graduates of The Ohio State University with a commonality, a small group decided it was time for galvanization.
From the inaugural Black Alumni Society Newsletter 2/1985:
By Andrea Cummings
The Ohio State University Black Alumni Society grew from one man’s dream of reuniting with his brothers and sisters from the 1960s. Through diligent effort, thoughtful planning, sincerity, and the help of other interested alumni, Claude Dallas assembled over two hundred alumni from around the country at a weekend reunion in August of 1981. Throughout the weekend of parties, picnics, open-air concerts, and visits to Columbus nite-spots, new friendships were strengthened.
The last get-together of the reunion attendees was a Sunday breakfast meeting. The meeting, chaired by Dallas, provided a chance for alumni to briefly introduce themselves and share accomplishments. Over final cups of coffee, an open forum was held in which alumni expressed their views of a university system that had both angered and gratified one and all. The consensus of the group was to pursue a course of exploration to determine the validity for establishment of a Black alumni group. The personal and professional accomplishments achieved by those in attendance was, for many, attributable to experiences at Ohio State. The decision was made to come together again, but to return as a formal organization that could make a positive contribution for Black Folk at and of the University.
During the next nine months a steering committee labored to build the foundation of a university affiliated organization that will work within the system to provide positive influence for students and Black alumni of several eras. In May of 1982 the 32nd alumni constituent group of The Ohio State University was officially chartered- The OSU Black Alumni Society.”
The BAS recognized that there was a lack of representation of African Americans at Ohio State and sought to change the disparity. The efforts of the BAS became the impetus for the Young Scholars Program at Ohio State University. A program designed to identify prospective future students early in their high school careers and provide a summer program to heighten their academic awareness.
In 2009 the Black Alumni Society’s name was changed to the African American Alumni Society. The name change culminated after the 2008 all decades reunion. Held every two years, the reunion brings together African American graduates of all ages.
In 2016, the society’s board and membership voted to changed the society’s name. African-American is a moniker that identifies a large portion of black alumni of The Ohio State University and it fails to identify many of our black graduates who are not American. With this in mind, we voted to change the name of the society and revert to its original name, The Ohio State University Black Alumni Society.