Oglethorpe University alumni have come together to form the Oglethorpe Black Alumni Network (OBAN), which officially launched during Alumni Weekend in April 2022.
Mentorship, scholarship, and community are at the heart of this new affinity group, founded by Black alumni who graduated between 2008 and 2019.
“I wanted to take advantage of the relationships and people I knew,” said Oglethorpe Trustee Chad Smith ’13, a founding member. “It started with close friends, but we divided and conquered to put the team together.”
Other founders include Brian Cornelius ’15, Tony Golden ’13, Dylan Harper ’19, Christopher Harvin ’08 and Dr. Jen Riley ’10.
“We wanted to bring others together in a way that was not only fun and light-hearted, but with a mission at hand,” said Dr. Riley.
Part of that mission is a focus on future generations of Petrels.
“Many of us went to Oglethorpe before a lot of Black students were on campus,” said Golden. “We want current students to connect with our accomplished alumni.”
“We are all passionate about being a resource to the classes that follow,” said Harvin.
The network is envisioned to be a safe space for Black students / future alumni and a place for “healing, celebration, and growth” at OU.
OBAN is looking to support the acknowledgment and appreciation of Black students and culture across campus and to inspire other OU community members to make more positive changes on campus.
“We want to make sure Oglethorpe always feels like home,” Cornelius said.
The Alumni Weekend launch event welcomed more than 100 attendees — a testament to the appeal and value of a group like the Oglethorpe Black Alumni Network.
“As a recent grad, I knew it was a matter of time before something like OBAN was formed,” Harper said. “This is the start of something that’s going to be huge. It will continue to grow from here.”
Moving forward, the Oglethorpe community can expect to see OBAN active on social media, and OU Black alumni are invited to join their FaceBook group. Look for upcoming events hosted during the 2022-2023 academic year. For more information or to reach out to the group, email OBANOfficers@gmail.com.