Black Alumnae/i Symposium

The Power of our Presence: Celebrating the Greatness Within Us

Julieanna Richardson, Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas '63, '00HD, and Dean Betty Rawlins '67GS, '03HD

More than 150 alumnae/i, faculty, staff, and students were on campus to attend the 2018 Black Alumnae/i Symposium April 27-29. Entitled The Power of Our Presence: Celebrating the Greatness Within Us, participants enjoyed a weekend of celebration, inspiration, and the power of giving back.

Lead by the African American Alumnae/i Association and supported by the Office of Alumnae/i Engagement, the program featured rich, alumnae/i-driven programs including workshops, panels, and receptions.A few program highlights:

  • Updates from Simmons with Provost Katie Conboy
  • Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, reflected on the contributions of Dr. Dorothy Ferebee ’20, Gwen Ifill ’77, ‘93HD, and interviewed Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas ’63, ‘00HD.
  • Leading healthcare professionals and experts, LaDonna Christian ’12HSC, ’16HSD, P’12 (Moderator), Millicent Gorham ’76, ’11HD, Cheryl Holder, MD, and Ngina Lythcott ’67, ’04HD, led a panel on current healthcare inequities, particularly those affecting black communities, and the innovative ways those issues are being addressed.
  • A keynote speech by CNN political commentator Symone D. Sanders, the youngest press secretary for a presidential candidate on record.
  • A civic engagement panel featuring, Fmr. Amb. Harriet Elam-Thomas, Hon. Pamela Moran Dashiell ’75, Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court, Carol Waller Pope ’74, former member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and Desiraé Simmons ’05, ’06GS, a community engagement professional at the University of Michigan.
  • Saturday’s Evening Affair with remarks from Deborah C. Brittain ’74SW, TS (some dancing too!)
  • Gospel Brunch with beautiful singing by Bryanna Brown ’19, a moving Awards Ceremony, and a powerful presentation by the students from Women of the Dream of the the poem Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Alumnae/i Award Winners

Congratulations to our Black Alumnae/i Symposium award winners!

We'd love to hear your feedback on this year's Symposium! Fill out our survey to let us know your thoughts!

Complete event survey



View photos from the event!


Weekend Program

The weekend's events included workshops, panels, and an amazing keynote speaker!



Support the Black Alumnae/i Symposium Legacy Scholarship Fund.

Steering Committee

Black Alumnae/i Symposium is a program of the African American Alumnae/i Association of Simmons University. We are thankful to the alumnae/i volunteerism that makes this weekend possible, as led by the Black Alumnae/i Symposium Steering Committee:

Kenyora Parham '10
Chair, Black Alumnae/i Symposium 2018
Vice President, African American Alumnae/i Association

Chanelle Peters '04
President, African American Alumnae/i Association

Sandy Fonseca-Lopes '15
Chair, Outreach Committee Chair

Candyce Lindsay '84
Chair, Awards Committee

Janieva Mallory '16
Chair, Philanthropy Committee

Morgan Ward '16
Chair, Program Committee