01 Dec 1996

25th Annual African-American Student Union Career/Alumni Conference


25th Annual AASU Conference to Celebrate History and Promise "Our Silver Past and Golden Future" will be the theme of this year's 25th annual African-American Student Union (AASU) Career/Alumni Conference, to be held in Boston January 30 through February 2 at the Marriott, Copley Place. The conference will feature management seminars and panel discussions on information technology, the nonprofit sector, prominent African-American women business leaders, venture capital, and the music industry, as well as a "town meeting," an awards ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of outstanding African-American HBS graduates, and a distinguished roster of speakers, including Earl G. Graves, Sr., founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine.

Dennis F. Hightower (MBA '74), former president of Walt Disney Television & Telecommunications, now a senior lecturer at HBS, is serving as this year's alumni conference chair. "As the AASU reaches a critical milestone in its evolution, the January meeting offers a forum for reflection, introspection, and a discussion of the future," notes Hightower. "The Silver Anniversary conference provides a timely opportunity to explore the challenges and opportunities of operating as general managers in the emerging global marketplace and to examine the continuing obstacles we face as a group in gaining access to capital for startup endeavors. "The AASU annual career conferences are probably the largest gatherings of African-American MBAs from any graduate school of business," Hightower continues. "The networking potential is enormous. What's more, in the 25 years since the first such weekend, an entire generation of black business professionals has pursued diverse public, private, and entrepreneurial opportunities and now represents a tremendous resource to the next generation of leaders."

Conference chair Sara Crutchfield (HBS '97) views the conference as a "homecoming" for African-American graduates and a chance to strengthen bonds between students and alumni. "One of the AASU's current priorities is to pay more attention to our history and acknowledge HBS graduates who have paved the way for us," she notes. "This event will serve as a catalyst for an ongoing dialogue between current and former members of the AASU." The celebration will include a revitalized Distinguished Alumni awards program to recognize professional and community achievement. This year's recipients will be honored at a gala dinner held on Saturday night during the conference.


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