About the Council
Established in 1975
The Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association, also known as the HBCU Alumni CLE, was established on Sunday, July 27, 1975 by Sylvester Reed, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute (now University). It is a consortium of local alumni and supporters of the public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The group focuses on enhancing the awareness of HBCUs, providing student recruitment and scholarship, and alumni development and fundraising to the institutions they serve.
The rationale for establishing the organization was to serve as a vehicle for the various HBCU alumni organizations in the Greater Cleveland area. It was realized that the respective organizations were having events and activities at the same time and the thought was – each group was competing with each other. It was decided to develop a schedule of events so that each alumni group could be supportive, rather in competition for the same audience and funds. Each organization was to present their calendar for the year in order to avoid conflicting dates. This concept was proven to be helpful and provided the support desired. The Black College Alumni Chapter Presidents in the area was the initial target audience to form the group. However, over the years this has expanded to include other HBCU graduates and supporters.
In the early years the Council was known for awarding a scholarship to a student and a Harvest Ball which included representation from each HBCU Alumni Chapter. Currently, the Council is achieving new heights by presenting various scholarships such as the I Love This HBCU Scholarship, the Anthony H. Brown HBCU Arts Scholarship, the Joyce Robertson Terrell Memorial Scholarship, and the HBCU Freshmen Send-Off Footlocker Incentive. Other events include Destination HBCU Symposium, the HBCU Alumni Weekend, and promoting the advancement of alumni engagement and individual contributions to their alma mater. The Council engages in other noteworthy activities including the alumni leadership workshops and the UNCF 5K Walk/Run for Education.
One of the major initiatives of the Council is to help prospective students and the general public to become aware of the value of Historically Black Colleges and Universities as excellent institutions as producers of future leaders. The Council wanted to dispel the myth held by some that education at these institutions are inferior to other colleges and universities. To this end, the Council is heavily engaged in supporting minority higher education enrichment programs throughout the community. In addition, the Council hosts the largest HBCU College Fair, annually, in Northeast Ohio. This event has over the years become a well sought after signature event of the Council during the fall season.
The membership of the Council has grown since the inception of the group. Averaging from 15 participants in 1975 to more than 60 during the 2015-16 season and increasing to over 75 members in 2016-17. Additionally the Council has collaborated as partners with a number of agencies in the community. Most notably, the Council has partnered with the United Negro College Fund, the Common Black College Application, McDonald’s, College Now Greater Cleveland, Urban League of Greater Cleveland, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council or Greater Cleveland.
The Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association is a consortium of local (Greater Cleveland, OH area) alumni and supporters of the public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The primary purpose of the council is to:
Our Goals & Objectives
The Council will make effort to remain steadfast to accomplishing our goals through a variety of measurable and attainable objectives.
Goal #1. Engage prospective students to consider HBCUs.
Goal #2. Raise the awareness of HBCUs and the sustainability of the Council’s presence in the community.
Goal #3. Support alumni development.
In as much as this body is its own organization, the Council does prescribe to affiliate with other local, regional and national organizations that share a similar philosophy and fundamental purposes. This body affirms its affiliation with the Northern Ohio Inter-Alumni Council/UNCF, the National Alumni Council/UNCF and the Northern Ohio UNCF Office in times when the purpose and objective is directly supporting the fundraising efforts and ongoing activities of the United Negro College Fund. Such efforts will be reported under the name of Northern Ohio Inter-Alumni Council/UNCF (N.O. IAC/UNCF) and determination of any funds raised and other related matters will be mutually agreed upon by a UNCF sub-committee and/or Council with the UNCF area office.
Our 2020-22 Executive Board
Laura R. Williams
Central State University