April 19, 2012
LaTanya Buck

AAMS Caps Pilot Year with National Conference

Panelists take part in the plenary session of SLU's first black male scholar conference
More than 200 took part in the University's first conference focused on African-American male scholars Thursday, April 12. Photo by Carl Bruce Photography

The Cross Cultural Center and the African-American Male Scholars Initiative hosted the first University-sponsored conference targeted at African-American male students Thursday, April 12.

The conference, titled "Campus and Beyond: The Role of the Black Male Scholar in the 21st Century," focused on the history and identity of African-American male scholars, community engagement, college recruitment and retention practices and the education/ mis-education of black men.

"This event was the first of its kind at SLU and our dedicated committee of volunteers has been meeting since last fall to host this effort," remarked LaTanya Buck, director of the Cross Cultural Center and AAMS Advisory Council Co-Chair. "Their solid work has paid off tremendously, as the day was a huge success and we continue to receive meaningful feedback from attendees across the region."

Held as a capstone event to the pilot year of the AAMS Initiative, the conference welcomed nearly 200 people from around the country to contribute to the development of African-American male students. Students, faculty, staff and community members networked and discussed the vital issues that affect the advancement of young black men on college campuses and within their communities.

"I applaud the Cross Cultural Center and AAMS Advisory Council for recognizing the need to address a disparity in the retention and success rates of our African-American male scholars," said conference attendee Ray Quirolgico, assistant vice president of Student Development.

Although there were dozens of educators and community leaders in attendance, the conference focused on the efforts of high school and undergraduate students. Representatives from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, St. Louis Community College, the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri-St. Louis shared information of similar efforts at their institutions.

"It was gratifying to see such great attendance, including a significant number of high school students," said Kent Porterfield, Ed.D., vice president of Student Development. "The event brought together students, faculty, students and community members to discuss important issues impacting the educational needs and opportunities of African-American men in our community and across the county. I hope this is an event that will continue for years to come."

The "Campus and Beyond" Conference Planning Committee members are Andre Benson (Cross Cultural Center), Wendy Blocker (Career Services), Stefan Bradley, Ph.D. (history and African American Studies), LaTanya Buck (Cross Cultural Center), Kaymesia Coss (Housing and Residence Life), Patrice French (Cross Cultural Center), Michael Jones (Student Educational Services), Anastacia Sontag (Student Involvement Center), Tiara Wair (Office of Undergraduate Admission) and Bryan Weaver (Cross Cultural Center).

The AAMS Initiative will end its pilot year with a culminating reception for all of its student participants, faculty, staff and alumni mentors and supporters.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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