Lipscomb Black Alumni Council launches as part of an expanding alumni relations program

by Rhonda Minton | 9/18/2018

As the Lipscomb University Office of Alumni Relations continues to expand programming to meet the needs of its alumni base, the office announces the formation of the Lipscomb Black Alumni Council (LBAC).

A group of nine alumni representing alumni from five decades worked with the alumni office during this past year to lay the foundation for LBAC. LBAC will spearhead initiatives to develop and strengthen lifelong relationships between the university, its Black/African-American alumni and students.

The founding members include Patricia Shearry Bethel (’72) of Chattanooga; Bruce Bowers (’72) of Hermitage; Ted Jamison (’72) of White’s Creek; Renita J. Cobb (’73) of Leighton, Alabama; Dennis Bruce Gamble (’78) of Douglasville, Georgia; Dorcas Wiley Curry (’82) of Nashville; Franchel Daniel Shorkey (’01) of Plano, Texas; T.J. Ojehomon (’14) of Antioch; and April Terry (’15) of Nashville.

Dr. Phil Ellenburg, vice president for alumni relations, said one of the primary objectives in alumni relations is to help foster, create and sustain a vibrant community of active and engaged alumni.

“A leading way to achieve that goal is to provide opportunities for alumni affinity councils to connect and flourish,” Ellenburg said. “We are extremely grateful for this group of passionate, dedicated and energetic alumni who have championed the cause to create Lipscomb’s first-ever black alumni council.

“LBAC will join GOLD Network—our ‘graduates of the last decade’—as our first two affinity councils and will lead the way for others like a proposed Veterans Alumni Council, college-based councils and local regional alumni councils around the country,” Ellenburg said.

“I’m personally grateful for all of the founding council members, but especially for the three alumni—Pat Bethel, Ted Jamison and Bruce Bowers—who have driven the LBAC vision from the very beginning,” Ellenburg said. “Their inspiration and hard work has been instrumental in making all of this happen.”

Bowers, a 2017 Lipscomb Honors Award recipient, is a member of the group leading the formation of LBAC. The Hermitage resident, who retired from Metro Nashville School District after a distinguished career as educator, coach and administrator, champions the importance of serving and mentoring others.

“As a recipient of the 2017 Lipscomb Honors Award, I’m honored to be a part of the team launching LBAC. This is an extremely important and historic moment,” Bowers said. “LBAC’s mission is to provide a forum to connect black alumni, students, faculty, staff and others who are committed to diversity, inclusion and participation in the life of Lipscomb University.

“In the coming months, LBAC plans to connect with alumni regarding 2018 Homecoming events, support students and work with the Office of Intercultural Development,” Bowers said.

The council will focus on programming that supports black students and alumni to help strengthen their faith; excel in academic, social and cultural endeavors; acquire life skills required to successfully transition from college to life post-college; and develop networks that contribute to education and career advancement.

For more information, contact Garner Goode, director of alumni engagement, at 615-966-5990, or email the alumni office at