The Mississippi State University National Alumni Association is proud to welcome alumni back to campus Feb. 17-20 for Black Alumni Weekend 2022, or BAW22.
With the theme “50 Years of Athletic Inclusion,” the weekend is a collaborative effort led by the BAW22 Executive Planning Committee in conjunction with the Black Alumni Advisory Council and the 137-year-old alumni association.
Co-chaired by MSU alumni Crystal Jackson Vincent of Wylie, Texas, and Zwan Landfair of Olive Branch, the BAW22 planning committee is comprised of African-American alumni representing multiple generations of MSU students, preparing what they hope is a meaningful event that increases alumni involvement, while raising support for student scholarships. They especially are looking forward to the weekend’s activities after having to postpone the occasion in 2020.
Landfair, a 1993 industrial technology graduate, and Vincent, a 2005 marketing graduate, anticipate BAW22 will be well attended.
“I am so thankful for Crystal and Zwan, our two co-chairs, and the executive planning committee for investing hundreds of hours over the past three years in the planning and replanning of this special event and for their service to and support of MSU,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “Our university has been a trailblazer in the state for diversity and inclusion, and we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of and vast contributions our Black alumni have made to the Bulldog community.”
The weekend’s “50 Years of Athletic Inclusion” theme honors the legacy upheld by African-American student athletes at Mississippi State since Frank Dowsing Jr. and Robert Bell donned the Maroon and White some five decades ago. Dowsing and Bell made history when they joined the Bulldog football team in 1969, becoming the university’s first Black student athletes and pioneering a new era in MSU athletics.
Accordingly, an athletic luncheon with several MSU coaches and Athletic Director John Cohen is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18, followed by a tour of the university’s athletic facilities. The luncheon includes a special ceremony honoring recipients of the Dowsing-Bell Award, created in 2018 in honor of the former Bulldog teammates for whom it is named.
The weekend, which includes a variety of educational and social events, kicks off Thursday, Feb. 17, with the Black Alumni Career Mixer. Open to all MSU students, the event is aimed at attracting minority students from all majors who are interested in full- and part-time, internship and co-op opportunities. The career mixer serves as a way to engage students and increase diversity across the professional industry. Student participants in the mixer also are invited to attend the “Future” Black Alumni Party that same night.
Additional activities, scheduled throughout the weekend, include an open forum for the State of Black Affairs at the university and a semiformal gala, which serves as an opportunity to shine a light on alumni accomplishments, honor those who have died and raise funds for the Black Alumni Advisory Council’s scholarship awards, with a portion of each paid registration supporting this scholarship effort.
More BAW22 information and a full schedule are available at http://alumni.msstate.edu/baw22.
Mississippi State University has more than 155,000 living alumni and over 100 alumni chapters and clubs worldwide. Visit www.alumni.msstate.edu for more information on the MSU Alumni Association and its events.