2-15-18 Oakwood University Pre-Alumni Council Students Gain Experience, Makes Connections at UNCF Leadership Conference

On Feb. 7, 2018, the Oakwood University Pre-Alumni Council members boarded a van headed for Atlanta, Georgia, for the United Negro College Fund Leadership Conference. The four-day conference marks the 72nd annual meeting of UNCF’s National Alumni Council, and the 60th National Pre-Alumni Council. The conference featured workshops geared toward preparing students for life after graduation, as well as seminars for Alumni Relations officers, aimed at increasing alumni involvement. 
The conference offered networking opportunities for the students of the 37 UNCF member schools as it brought them in direct contact with industry leaders from major corporations and government agencies, such as the Bank of America, Quicken Loans, Fed Ex, Target, and the CIA.

During the National Miss UNCF Pageant, Oakwood is represented by Najma Calhoun (right), 2017-2018 Miss UNCF. Calhoun is escorted by David Richardson, vice president for Mission, Enrollment Services, & Retention.
Photo provided by Oakwood University 


Oakwood Pre-Alumni club member Tori Allen was surprised by the transparency in which panel guest shared their experiences. Allen, a senior communication major, was particularly impressed with Caroline Wanga, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for the Target Corporation, who shared some of the major personal and professional challenges she faced. “She quoted my favorite line from Marianne Williamson’s poem ‘Our Deepest Fear,’ which states that as we liberate ourselves, we liberate others. That’s exactly what she did for me,” said Allen. “Her story of liberation allowed me a glimpse of what a liberated Tori Allen would look like.”
Saturday evening featured the National Miss UNCF Pageant, hosted by Oakwood alumnus Kenneth Anderson of Huntsville's Office of Multicultural Affairs. For Najma Calhoun, a graduating senior, the event also marked the end of her term as the National Pre-Alumni Council chaplain as the new student leaders were announced during the competition. “I was motivated by the Empower Me Tour panel to come back and share opportunities to my fellow student body,” said Calhoun.
Students gained experience from the UNCF Leadership Conference as they prepare for life after graduation. Sophomore Information Technology major Maurice Staples received valuable insight from the workshops. “One of the speakers expressed that he had the opportunity to do something great, that he didn’t feel as if he had full qualifications for,” Staples said. “He took the opportunity. He later realized that if he hadn’t taken that chance, he would have never learned the skills required for his success today.”

— Oakwood University Office of Integrated Marketing & Public Relations