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Black Student Union celebrates 50 years at Holy Cross

BSU’s 50th anniversary documentary airs in a crowded Hogan Ballroom. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Two Alumni Host BSU 50th Anniversary Documentary
Two alumni present BSU’s 50th anniversary documentary. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

An alumnus watches the BSU 50th anniversary documentary.
An alumnus watches the BSU 50th anniversary documentary. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Holy Cross President Reverend Philip L. Boroughs, SJ speaks at Theodore Wells Convocation
Holy Cross President Reverend Philip L. Boroughs, SJ speaks at Theodore Wells’ ’72 convocation. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Theodore Wells
Theodore Wells ’72 speaks during his honorary degree ceremony. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Former pupils, students, friends and family of Theodore Wells
Theodore Wells ’72 alumni, students, friends and family fill the Hogan Ballroom for his convocation. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Prof. Boroughs and College Provost and Dean Margaret Freije congratulate Theodore Wells
Prof. Boroughs and Provost and Dean of College Margaret Freije congratulate Theodore Wells ’72 on his honorary degree. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Rob Jones, Associate Director of the Office of Multicultural Education, interviews Theodore Wells
Rob Jones, Associate Director of the Office of Multicultural Education, interviews Theodore Wells ’72 and Student Government Association Co-Chair Adrian Cacho ’19. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Two alumni embrace at BSU's 50th anniversary celebration
Two alumni embrace at BSU’s 50th anniversary celebration. Photo of Hui Li ’21

Students and alumni gather for a fishbowl discussion about BSU's influence
Students and alumni gather for a fishbowl discussion about BSU’s influence. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A die
A participant speaks during the fishbowl. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Alumni and students watch during the aquarium discussion of BSU's influence over the years
Alumni and students watch during the aquarium discussion of BSU’s influence over the years. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Current students and alumni sit on a panel on the power of the alumni network.
Current students and alumni sit on a panel on the power of the alumni network. Photo of Hui Li ’21

BSU alumni gather and greet each other.
BSU alumni gather and greet each other. Photo of Hui Li ’21

BSU alumni endure the cold for a tailgate celebration
BSU alumni endure the cold at a tailgate before the football game. Photo of Hui Li ’21

The Hogan Ballroom tables showed off the BSU spirit.
The Hogan Ballroom tables show the BSU spirit. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A former student stands in front of colorful balloons.
An alumnus stands in the Dunne Lounge during the BSU Celebration Reception. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A group of former students pose for a photo.
A group of alumni pose for a photo before the BSU celebration and dinner. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A BSU member stands at the celebration dinner
A BSU member stands at the celebration dinner. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Three BSU alumni talk to each other.
Three BSU alumni reunite at the celebratory dinner. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Arthur Martin
Arthur Martin ’70, BSU co-founder and first president, speaks at the celebration dinner. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

The Hogan Ballroom at full capacity for the celebration dinner
The Hogan Ballroom at full capacity for the celebration dinner. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A woman smiles during Loretta Lynch
A woman smiles during Loretta Lynch’s keynote. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Nakyah Lucas
BSU Co-President Nakyah Lucas ’20 introduces Loretta Lynch. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

A crowded ballroom Hogan listens to former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch speak
A packed Hogan Ballroom listens as former United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Loretta Lynch addresses students and alumni in the Hogan Ballroom
Loretta Lynch addresses students and alumni in the Hogan Ballroom. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

Loretta Lynch greets people after her keynote address
Loretta Lynch greets people after her keynote address. Photo by Dan Vaillancourt

the Black Student Union (BSU) at the College of the Holy Cross celebrated its 50th anniversary with a wide range of thought-provoking workshops, performances, and a celebratory dinner with a keynote address by Loretta E. Lynch, former U.S. Attorney General- United.

“To all the alumni of the school and of the Black Student Union, congratulations on this anniversary,” Lynch told the many alumni and students gathered in the Hogan Ballroom.

“To the founders and early members who are here, your first thought might be, ‘Where did all that time go?’ But take a look at the students, at everyone who’s followed you, and look at what you’ve wrought,” Lynch paused as he surveyed the packed hall. “Because it’s phenomenal.”

BSU was founded by some of the College’s first African-American students in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and at the height of the civil rights movement. The organization was created to support, empower, and inspire African American students at the College by creating an environment that fosters leadership, embraces identity, and encourages diversity. Fifty years later, the community has come together to honor the legacy of BSU and the people who played a role in its formation.

The weekend festivities included a BSU 50th anniversary documentary, created by Kona Khasu ’92, which played to a packed house. Students and alumni also participated in a Griot, an event featuring spoken word and musical performances that lasted late into the night, a barbecue tailgate and a football game against Fordham University, and a candid conversation on “Unity and Fortitude” discussing the influence of the BSU.

A particularly well-attended panel highlighted the power and reach of the BSU Alumni Network. Of the five panel members, three generations of students (classes of 1975, 2003, and 2020, respectively) served as mentors to each other.

BSU Co-Chair Nakyah Lucas ’20 was emotional over the weekend, but not in the way she expected.

“It didn’t mean much to me that the elders I met throughout the weekend were powerful and successful. But it meant to me that they all considered us family and wanted to help us in every way. ways possible. It was nice to see that the BSU helped them the same way they help me.

Earlier in the weekend, the College awarded an honorary degree to Theodore V. Wells ’72, co-founder and former president of BSU, for his legal career, service to the College, and civil rights work. , racial and social justice. , and educational equality.

As Lynch pointed out in his opening address, “The organization we honor tonight was created by young men determined to work on the issues of the day. And they changed this school by their presence.

“The BSU is a strong community; I can feel it here tonight with those of you that I met just that night. Your voices and presence come together to elevate your community, and your community provides support and inspiration for the difficult work ahead. But you are also doubly blessed because you find yourself within an academic community that is a source of ideas and perspectives as well as a commitment to the ideas of service and justice.

Look for an article on the legacy and impact of the Black Student Union in the upcoming Winter 2019 issue of Holy Cross magazine.

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