LBAC welcomes all who embrace diversity and inclusion
Lipscomb Black Alumni Council offers alumni opportunities from fun activities to student mentorship
Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078 |
There is no doubt it has been a year of hardship so far. But in hardship, we Bisons pull together.
Given the tragic national events earlier this year, more people than ever before are looking for ways to stand together and embrace inclusion, diversity and a better world. The Lipscomb Black Alumni Council (LBAC) wants those people, to know that it can be a valuable conduit to carry out that vision on the Lipscomb campus, said Pat Bethel (’72), chair of the LBAC board of directors.
Kicked off in November 2018, LBAC has almost 1,000 registered members and is open to anyone, of any ethnicity, who is committed to supporting diversity, inclusion and participation in the life of Lipscomb University, she said.
“You don’t have a voice in the university if you are not engaged,” said Bethel. “There is so much good for today’s students that can come from alums who had the experience of being a minority at Lipscomb in the past.
“It is important for all of today’s students to understand the importance of inclusion. Lipscomb wants to be an even more inclusive and welcoming organization, and any alum can be a part of making the university even better,” she said.
LBAC focuses on programming that supports black students and alumni to help strengthen their faith; excel in academic, social and cultural endeavors; acquire life skills required to successfully transition from college to post-college life; and develop networks that contribute to education and career advancement.
One of the easiest ways to become a part of the Lipscomb LBAC community is to simply let them know who you are and how to contact you, said Bethel.
A monthly LBAC newsletter is sent to all registered black alumni as well as those who are interested in supporting the mission. It doesn’t take any more than an email to LBAC@alumni.lipscomb.edu to start a dialogue with fellow alumni who share similar values and passions.
The activities of LBAC are divided into five committees:
The Member Engagement and Communications Committee, chaired by Franchel Daniel Shorkey (’01) of Plano, Texas, oversees production and distribution of the LBAC newsletter.
The Activities Committee, chaired by Bruce Bowers (’72) of Hermitage, Tennessee, and April Terry (’15) of Nashville, hosts the annual LBAC reunion at Homecoming in November as well as service day opportunities and a booth at the College of Business’ Black Professional Organizations Fair. The members also take advantage of opportunities to get the Lipscomb community together at local churches and organizations or to just have fun.
The Church Relations Committee, chaired by Dennis Bruce Gamble (’78) of Douglasville, Georgia, plays an active role in connecting current Lipscomb students with Nashville’s local African American congregations through the annual on-campus church fair. The committee also works hard during the year to bring a slate of African American ministers and speakers to Summer Celebration, Lipscomb’s three-day faith event held on-campus each summer. The LBAC gathering to watch Summer Celebration’s fireworks display provides another opportunity to meet fellow alumni and students.
The Student Engagement Committee, chaired by T.J. Ojehomon (’14) of Antioch, wants every student to succeed in their transition to a career and furthers that goal by hosting on-campus small group mentoring sessions with diverse students. Plans are being finalized for the future including a financial literacy course for students and connecting students with internships and job opportunities at minority- and alumni-owned companies.
The Scholarships Committee, chaired by Cameron Robinson (’06) of Nashville, makes LBAC members aware of the individual needs of students, such as money needed to go on a mission trip, as well as working each year to fund a specific goal. Recipients have included the Office of Intercultural Development and the Engage program, a summer camp for high schoolers looking to begin a career in ministry.
This year LBAC is raising funds for a student scholarship, in the name of Stephanie Erin Bethel (’01), a Lipscomb alumna, and Bethel’s daughter, who died of lupus in 2017. The scholarship will fund tuition for Lipscomb students, giving preference to students who suffer from disabilities or who participated in Lipscomb's ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative, which brings together high school students from racially diverse backgrounds to explore the contemporary call to racial justice and healing. To give to the LBAC 2020 fundraising effort click here.
The eighth member of the LBAC leadership council is Lyn Williams, who works on the Member Engagement and Communications team.