It has been an honor for me to lead the USC Black Alumni Association for the past 13 years. What a wonderful journey it has been to steward this organization, while enjoying your tremendous partnership and unwavering support!
This is why it is bittersweet that I write to you today. I have accepted a new position in USC University Relations as the university’s first Associate Vice President, Business Diversity and Local Opportunity. I start this position on December 14. In my new role, I will be highly focused on the substantial potential of USC partnerships, in particular with Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), to optimize institutional spending and impact in the region. I will be working with an incredible team, and all of us are excited to move forward. That said, I will always be a Black Trojan, and remain resolute in my support of the USC BAA.
Together, we have shared great moments, while fortifying a vital and very special USC alumni organization. My great appreciation and respect for the legacy of Rev. Dr. Thomas Kilgore Jr., and the founding mission of BAA, have kept me focused on our purpose. And it was our Black Trojan Family’s boundless encouragement that uplifted me in this work. I will treasure every memory: mentoring the next generation of Black leaders, creating spectacular events, traveling around the world, raising funds for student scholarships, solving problems, and yes, even getting older together! Yet this organization does not stand on my shoulders. At 45 years strong, BAA has a heartbeat of its own, powered by our beloved Black alumni. I am humbled to be included in small measure as part of its powerful narrative.
With the collective insight, hard work and intention of our village, we have transformed the organization into one that is respected and envied across the nation. We have provided nearly 4,000 scholarships to our outstanding students, and have raised close to $10 million in annual awards for scholarships and endowments. We accomplished this with outstanding synergies across our various skillsets, networks and perspectives. In addition to fundraising and securing donor commitments, we have embraced thousands of Black students, and given them the support of exceptional role models to help position their own future success. We have also provided thousands of Black Trojans with opportunities to strengthen the ties that bond us. This is the critical work of BAA.
As you know, I have been tremendously blessed to work with two amazing colleagues at BAA: Associate Director Tensie J. Taylor and Assistant Director Gary D. Brown. Tensie and Gary make a remarkable team, and I am confident that they will continue to ensure BAA’s growth and success. Please place your energies and trust with them, as you have graciously done with me. You can also count on the BAA Advisory Board for their continued leadership and dedication to our mission. I encourage you to make your involvement with BAA the best it can be, through your time, advocacy and philanthropy in support of our Black scholars.
And so, thank you for having trusted me these many years with the reins of the USC Black Alumni Association. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life to know, and work with, each one of you. I look forward to a future that continues to strengthen and bless our USC BAA family.
Michèle G. Turner ’81, EdD ’14
USC Black Alumni Association