Black alumni from across the United States are returning to West Virginia University for a special fall weekend. The inaugural Black Alumni Weekend sponsored by the WVU Alumni Association is set for Sept. 21-23 with the goal of helping WVU establish better relations with alumni from diverse backgrounds.

“We feel good about this event and have gotten tremendous response from alumni who are making the trip back to Morgantown and WVU for this weekend,”explained Steve Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of the Alumni Association, who said alumni are expected from as far away as California.

Events include an open house at the Center for Black Culture and Research, a welcome reception sponsored by the President’s Office for Social Justice, an alumni tailgate at Mountaineer Field and a banquet.

The University has stepped up to support this event.

“We have several colleges and units serving as sponsors,”Douglas explained.”A lot of people have grabbed onto this concept and are doing whatever is needed to make it a success.”

Throughout the University’s history, African Americans and other ethnic groups have not participated fully in the alumni association. The reasons are varied, but now there is a concerted effort to change what has become a trend. Douglas and leaders within the association hope this event will mark the beginning of an era of improved relations.

“It is time, actually past time, for this kind of effort,”explained Michael Ellington, a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.”Just about everyone we have spoken to about Black Alumni Weekend is excited and wants to know how they can get involved.”

As part of the weekend, students are invited to the CBC &R on Friday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m. for a networking session with returning alumni. This one-on-one meeting will hopefully lead to continued meaningful dialogues between upcoming graduates and alumni who have substantial career and life experiences. Cost for the weekend is $25. That covers Friday’s welcome reception and Saturday’s tailgate and banquet.

Also tickets to the football game (WVU vs. Kent) are available at a special cost of $15 for those who register.

This is also WVU s annual Parents Weekend for families of WVU students, and WVU will observe the official grand opening of its Student Recreation Center. Singer and songwriter Shawn Colvin, a contemporary folk performer, will entertain audiences Friday, and George Benson, one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, will perform at WVU on Saturday.

For more information and a complete itinerary on Black Alumni Weekend, contact Christy Day, , or 304-558-3481.