As part of senior week festivities, the Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association initiated the first annual induction ceremony welcoming members of the Classes of 2011 into its membership. The soon- to- be Hobart and William Smith graduates gathered with faculty and ALAA representatives to be recognized as incoming members of the organization at a ceremony held in the Seneca Room on Thursday.
ALAA President Rafael Rodriguez ’07 led the ceremony with Director of Alumni Relations Jared Weeden ’91 and Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13. “Before today ALAA had no formal way of recognizing graduates and new members. This is not just an induction but a celebration of these graduates and the people here at the Colleges who have helped them. We’ve been brought together in their accomplishments,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez acknowledged the inductees individually noting that, “every one of you makes an impact and we’re here to celebrate and honor each of you for your hard work.”
Inductees from the Classes of 2011 included Akilah Browne, Walter Cruz, Katherine De La Cruz, Sharlene Diamond, Shanelle France, Denise Polanco, Denisse M. Polanco, Jose Rodriguez, Yorleiny Terrero and Jalisa Whitley.
“You are always welcome as students of the ALAA and HWS; you’re always a part of both families,” stated Rodriguez. “Your relationship with these families is in your hands now.”
ALAA formed in 1999 at HWS by a group of alums who wanted to assist students of color on campus. As new members of ALAA, these inductees will work to promote the interest of HWS and the ALAA among members and with HWS faculty and staff in order to strengthen relations among the Colleges and alums of color. They also will work to promote a greater awareness of the association among alums of color not only to encourage them to return to the Colleges but to stay involved through organizing and attending events.