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Black alumni come back to look forward

Sept. 29, 2006, 7:30 a.m.
Black Alumni Conference

Some 500 alumni, faculty, staff and guests are on campus this weekend for the "Coming Back and Looking Forward" conference sponsored by the University in partnership with the Association of Black Princeton Alumni. At a reception on Thursday evening in the Icahn Laboratory, alumni (clockwise from foreground) Veronica Anderson-Corpening and Charles Corpening, both members of the class of 1987, and Noel Gordon, a member of the class of 1986, talked with undergraduates Steven Brown and Nikki Bowen.

Photo by John Jameson 

The largest gathering of black alumni in the University's history will take place this weekend, Sept. 28-30, on campus.

Some 500 alumni, faculty, staff and guests are expected to attend "Coming Back and Looking Forward," a conference sponsored by the University in partnership with the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

Events began with a reception on Thursday evening and will continue through a concert on Saturday evening. Conference sessions will open on Friday morning with welcoming remarks by President Shirley M. Tilghman.

"While the conference will provide opportunities to reflect on how Princeton has become stronger and more diverse over recent decades, the principal focus will be on identifying priorities and strategies that will enable Princeton to do an even better job going forward," Tilghman wrote in a letter to invitees. She also will lead a conversation with alumni on Saturday morning.

During the day on Friday and Saturday, participants will hear about campus diversity initiatives, the new Center for African American Studies and the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Top-level administrators will lead sessions on admission, financial aid, finances, priorities and campus planning.

There also will be faculty lectures on topics ranging from the University's integrated science curriculum to neuroscience research to Hurricane Katrina and America's racial politics.

A panel discussion by several current students is planned about student life today. In addition, participants will be able to attend career networking panel discussions on topics including finance, nonprofits, law, the academy and health care.

The conference will close with a wrap-up session titled "Where Do We Go From Here?" and a dinner featuring concluding remarks by Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion and a member of the graduate class of 1980. A concert by jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, a member of Princeton's class of 1981, will follow the dinner.

The conference, which is open only to invited guests, is one of two large gatherings planned this fall focused on alumni of color. A second conference, "Kaleidoscope: An Alumni Conference on Race and Community at Princeton University," is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 9-11. It will be open to all alumni and will be presented in collaboration with the Alumni Association of Princeton, the Asian American Alumni Association of Princeton, the Association of Black Princeton Alumni and the Association of Latino Princeton Alumni.