Black Alumni Chapter Takes Shape – New Members Welcome

The Black Alumni Chapter seeks to welcome new participants following a year of work by founding members Robert Browning ’69 and Donna Maxey ’70.

Robert and Donna were among several Black alumni who attended an affinity reception for Black Student Union students and alumni during Homecoming 2022. Following the reception, they were inspired to explore ways to support current Black students with a specific interest in helping students prepare to navigate the work world after graduation.

Over the past year, Robert and Donna have committed significant time to meeting with university representatives, to gather information and develop a strategy for how best to support students.

Robert and Donna, in collaboration with Martha Calus-McLain ’03, associate vice president in University Advancement, have met with many people including Jenny Coyle ’90, OD ’93, MS ’00, president, and Jay Cee Whitehead ’00, acting dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Robert and Donna also consulted with Paul Snell associate professor of Politics & Government and advisor to the Black Student Union, and Daniel Eisen ‘08, professor of sociology and race scholar.

In 2023 Robert and Donna supported the organization of two meaningful events aimed at strengthening community among Black alumni, students and employees – Lunch at Po’Shines Café de la Soul in April and the Soul Food Dinner during Homecoming 2023.

Upcoming priorities include creating additional networking opportunities and establishing a scholarship in memory of Bill Hilliard ’52, Hon. ’81.

The Black Alumni Chapter will meet monthly on the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. Pacific time via Zoom with the opportunity for Portland-area attendees to have dinner together after the meeting. The next meeting will take place Jan. 30, 2024.

Why should you join the Black Alumni Chapter?

  1. If you experienced “culture shock” as a Pacific University student
  2. If you benefited from attending Pacific University
  3. If you benefited from networking with Pacific University alumni
  4. If you want to see more Black graduates enter your profession

Who is Robert Browning ‘69

Robert Browning attended Pacific University from 1965 to 1969 earning a B.A. degree (Political Science).  Upon graduation, Robert was drafted into the U.S. Army, causing Robert to lose contact with Black alumni for several years. In 1965, Robert was the only Black male undergraduate in his class.  There were two Black females in Robert’s class.  The number of Black undergraduates increased rapidly in the early 1970s due to Affirmative Action programs.  The increase in Black undergraduates allowed for a vibrant Black Student Union (BSU).  Robert is the oldest surviving member of the original BSU. Robert networked with Pacific graduates Charles Leech ‘66 and Opal Chancler-Moore ’70 to obtain a job at the Oregon Bureau of Labor. Robert is a retired attorney residing in Gresham Oregon with his wife, son, and is guardian for two grandnieces.

Who is Donna Maxey ‘70

Donna Maxey is a 1970 graduate of Pacific with a degree in Elementary Education.  Donna is a retired Elementary School Teacher.  Donna’s father was a college graduate who formerly taught school in the South before moving to Portland.  Mr. Maxey became a well-known and successful businessman in Portland Ore. Donna has shown her commitment to race relations by founding RACE TALKS in 2011.  RACE TALKS a Portland Or. non-profit, committed to “uniting to break the Chains of Racism.” Donna’s daughter S. Pomerantz became Executive Director of RACE TALKS in 2020 with Donna remaining as Board Chair.

All are welcome

Consistent with federal and state law, Pacific acknowledges that while groups are intended to create space and focus on the needs of certain communities, all Pacific community members who are supportive of creating an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity are welcome to attend any affinity group meeting or event.

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023