University Marketing + Communications
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University’s alumni network is growing: for the first time, there is now a Black Alumni Council to serve African-American graduates and help support African-American students.
“There was a lot of need and interest among African-American alumni to gather, to stay connected, to give back, and to help create opportunities for African-American students,” said council president Crystal L. Kendrick (’97), a former member of the NKU Alumni Council.
The creation of the Black Alumni Council comes at a time when NKU’s student body is the most diverse in University history, and the number of African-American graduates is growing.
“We are proud to welcome the Black Alumni Council to our network of alumni councils and associations, which works to connect alumni, strengthen relationships, and celebrate the University and our alumni community,” said Michelle McMullen, Director of Alumni Programs & Councils.
NKU’s African-American alumni community is on the rise: from 1997 to 2011, the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred to underrepresented minority students, including African-Americans, grew by 202 percent.
Following the launch of the University’s 2013-18 strategic plan, Fuel the Flame, the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred to underrepresented minority students has grown by 37 percent. Increasing diversity among the student body, faculty, and staff is a central goal of the strategic plan.
“The University has done a phenomenal job of recruiting African-American students from across the region and the state, and it has made diversity inclusion a priority,” said Kendrick said. “We are proud to join and support those efforts.”
Kendrick said the Black Alumni Council plans to support student success programs such as NKU ROCKS, which helps first-year African-American students make the transition from high school to college. The program features a strong peer and faculty/staff mentoring component, and 77 percent of ROCKS students return for their sophomore years.
The Black Alumni Council was formed in January and already includes nearly more than a dozen members. Officers include Kendrick, Jeffrey Jordan, Bradley Dickerson, and Patrice McCollough.