Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Afro Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association (ALAA) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019.
Since 1999, “we have helped to identify and engage alums of color across the decades, many of whom have served as mentors to students and fellow alums,” says Chevanne “Chevy” Graham DeVaney ’95, P’21, P’23, associate director of annual giving at HWS and a former ALAA board president.
ALAA has been “a resource and an avenue by which we can not only support one another and come together around common causes that involve the Colleges, but impact students with the programming we’ve provided on campus,” says Mark “Skip” Darden ’87, P’17, ALAA interim president.
ALAA, which includes approximately 1,500 alums, promotes the interests of all graduates of color and has been a driving force behind programs designed to support the success of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including the STEM Scholars program. ALAA was also the first sponsor of the HWS Summer Academy, a two-week enrichment program for motivated and promising Geneva High School students who may face barriers to college education.
Meanwhile, ALAA has organized and sponsored career panels and networking conferences since its inception, working with the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education to coordinate programs like the Multicultural Networking and Career Conference and the Salisbury Diversity Fellow Program.
Darden, who was the inaugural ALAA president and served two terms as president since, says that looking toward the future, one of the group’s central goals is to increase outreach and engagement among recent graduates.
“When we get together I’m amazed at the talent our alums have,” he says. “We need to do a better job of allowing those talents to rise to the top, to enhance alum and student experiences and pour it back into the campus, so we can be the best we can be.”
For more information on how to get involved with ALAA or ways to support the Colleges, contact DeVaney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 781-4069.
ALAA is represented on the Hobart Alumni Association and the William Smith Alumnae Association and works to promote communication among ALAA members and the Colleges.