By Jill Spotz

More than 50 alumni, students, and faculty gathered in Marquis Hall for the annual McDonogh Network Spring Celebration and Reunion Reception on April 14. Attendees mingled with student representatives from several organizations including Association of Black Collegians, Nia (multicultural women’s support group), Lafayette African and Caribbean Students Association, and more.

Guests were welcomed by Robert Young ’14, associate director of annual and leadership giving, and featured speakers including Chris Hunt, dean of equity and inclusion; Kyara Gray ’11, chair, McDonogh Network; Yusuf Dahl, Robert W. Adenbaum ’49 Director of the Bradbury Dyer III ’64 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Sherryta Freeman, director of athletics; and Lafayette President Alison Byerly.

During his remarks, Hunt commended McDonogh Network members, who “are committed to the students who are here today as well as current students who crave opportunities to interact with alumni.” Hunt had an opportunity to connect with students prior to the event, acknowledging that students remain active and engaged for many reasons, including “honoring the work of alumni who blazed the path for students today.”

McDonogh chair Kyara Gray ’11 handed the leadership reins to co-chairs Shani Bellegarde ’09 and Ryan Benjamin ’10 after being involved in the network for a decade. “I remember working with Kim Spang, vice president of development and college relations, as a student nearly ten years ago,” she said.

Students were honored during the event for their academic achievement and dedication to promoting diversity at the College. The award categories are named after prominent Black and African-American alumni leaders.

  • Ashley St. John ’18 – Dr. Eugene Deloatch ’59 Excellence in Science and Engineering Award
  • Tymir Jones ’18 – Riley Temple ’71 Creative and Artistic Citizenship Award
  • Robson Adem ’19 – LeRoy Nunery Jr. ’77 Intellectual Citizenship Award
  • Karla Talley ’18 – Darlyne Bailey ’74 Excellence in the Humanities and Social Science Award
  • Lysa Diarra ’18 – Jeffrey Robinson ’80 Leadership Award
  • Imani Ford ’18 – David A. Portlock Cross-Cultural Relations Award
  • Basit Balogun ’21 – Dr. Eugene DeLoatch ’59 First-Year Academic Achievement Award
  • Luke Robinson ’18 – Otis Ellis ’89 Scholar-Athlete Award