Group of alumni at Black Alumni Advisory Council tent

Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC)

What is BAAC?

The Montclair State University Black Alumni Advisory Council will bring together Montclair graduates who are of African descent in the Diaspora, connecting them to their alma mater and engaging them in preparing today’s students for academic and career success. Their inaugural gathering took place on campus during Homecoming 2021, providing an opportunity for alumni to come back to campus to reconnect with the University and with each other.


The Black Alumni Advisory Council was created to engage Black alumni in support of the Montclair State University mission of educational, institutional and overall university community initiatives, policies and activities that strengthen relationships with the Black community and promote social justice, equity and inclusion among alumni and students.

Goals and Objectives

  • To sponsor networking opportunities and events for Black alumni
  • To develop an annual BAAC event at Montclair State University
  • To participate in Montclair State University Homecoming activities
  • To develop an annual fundraising initiative to support Montclair State University and Montclair State University Foundation priorities
  • To support EOF scholarships and other Montclair State University Foundation endeavors
  • To sponsor and/or co-sponsor an annual Black History Month event
  • To engage the Montclair State University community on issues that impact our Diaspora

Upcoming Event:

A Night to Remember: A Juneteenth Gala Celebration
June 27, 2024

presented by the Black Alumni Advisory Council and the Bloomfield College Alumni Association

Group at gala

We are pleased to honor:

  • Dr. Daniel Jean ’00 MA, Associate Provost for Educational Opportunity and Success Programs, for his dedicated service to Montclair State University providing leadership and support for our current and future students.
  • Coach Gerald Holmes, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, for his dedicated service to Bloomfield College of Montclair State University Men’s Basketball program providing support and guidance to current students.

Join us for an evening of dinner and dancing. All ticket proceeds from the evening will benefit the Emergency Scholarship Fund.

Thursday, June 27, 2024, from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Highlawn, 1 Crest Drive, West Orange, NJ

$150 ticket per person, with discounted ticket of
$100 for recent undergraduate alumni (Classes of 2014-2024)
includes dinner, open beer-wine bar

Register Today

View photos from last year’s event.

Interested in Joining the Black Alumni Advisory Council?

“Where we are today started at Montclair State University,” says Joanne Bowman ’82, director of human resources at Columbia University, referring to the Black students she knew during her days as a college student and later as a young alumna. “I found myself wanting to reconnect with this network, to do something together, something bigger and more meaningful.”

Brenda Coleman-Caldwell ’78, an assistant director of human resources for New Jersey Turnpike Authority, felt the same way. “Joanne and I had kept in touch with a lot of people through the Black Alumni Association, but that organization was dissolved,” she says. In the years since, their idea of what an alumni organization could be began to change and grow.

They decided that it was time to have a conversation with their friend Greg Collins ’79, who also happened to be the newly appointed chair of the Montclair State University Foundation board.
“Brenda invited me to what I thought was a casual lunch,” Collins recalls with a chuckle. “Instead, she laid out their vision for the Black Alumni Advisory Council. I loved what I was hearing!”

“Now is the right time, given everything that has been happening in our community and around the world,” Bowman explains. “Change is coming to the surface, putting diversity and social justice front and center in our schools, churches and neighborhoods. There is a sense of urgency that we want to build on.”

If you are interested in joining the network or serving on the planning committee, please complete this brief survey to tell us a little bit about yourself, your interests and your thoughts on developing future activities. Show your support!

Meet the Founding Council
Joanne Bowman ’82 – President
Brenda Coleman Caldwell ’78 – Vice President
Michael Burgess ’79
Antoinette Clay ’80
Greg Collins ’79
Diane Ryales Gipson ’80
Susan Blackwell Hargis ’76
Jeffrey L. Johnson ’83
Donna Teel ’80
Doreen Tucker ’83
Randal J. Yorker ’89

Again, if you are interested in joining, please complete this brief survey.

Support BAAC Initiatives

Support Future BAAC Initiatives with a gift to the Black Alumni Advisory Council Initiatives Fund. Gifts of all sizes make a direct and immediate impact. Your gift at the Supporter, Advocate and Benefactor levels enables the BAAC to develop opportunities to build and strengthen the alumni network and support student success.

Make a Gift

Past Events

Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC) Juneteenth Barbecue – June 10, 2023

Black alumni and friends gathered for food, games, music and dancing to honor Juneteenth. Future Red Hawks (children) enjoyed face painting, cotton candy and glitter tattoos. A fabulous time was had by all.

Black alumni and friends gather at the Black Alumni Barbecue.

Visit the album for more photos of the Juneteenth Barbecue.

Black Alumni Advisory Council (BAAC) Holiday Social – December 8, 2022

To keep the momentum of the first-ever BAAC Gala going, Black alumni of all ages gathered together at the Montclair Brewery for drinks and a chance to network, one last time before the new year.

Five alumni

View more photos of the Holiday Social.

A Night to Remember – October 28, 2022

More than 110 alumni and friends came together in October for the first-ever Black Alumni Advisory Council gala to honor former Associate Dean of Students and University Ombudsman James Harris ’68 ’70 MA, recognize BAAC Rising Star Medinah Muhammad ’16 and celebrate the legacy of Sam Mills ’81. Proceeds from the evening supported the Emergency Book Fund, EOF Book Fund and the James Harris Book Fund

Group at gala
black alumni advisory council gala attendees

Check out more photos for the BAAC Gala Celebration

Black History Month – The Jersey Four at Montclair State University – February 16, 2022

The Jersey Four

The Black Alumni Advisory Council hosted a special program for Black History Month in 2022. The Jersey Four held a discussion panel moderated by Jason Williams, Montclair State University Professor of Justice Studies on February 16, 2022.

In 1998, Rayshawn Brown, Jarmaine Grant, Keshon Moore and Danny Reyes, known as The Jersey Four, were headed to North Carolina to go after their dreams of attending a four-year college and playing professional basketball. But their dreams ended when they became victims of a police shooting during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. 23 years later, racial profiling continues as the cries for social justice get louder.

Over those 23 years, The Jersey Four have been actively committed to the work of social justice and community charity. They are examples of strength, growth, perseverance and survival. They have worked with major nonprofit organizations in the Tri-State Area, and today are officially incorporated with their own J4 Pass 2 Assist Foundation. They remain committed to giving back within their communities and fighting for social justice for all.

View the The Jersey Four panel discussion.


If you would like additional information regarding the Black Alumni Advisory Council, contact Jeanne Marano in the Office of Alumni Engagement at or 973-655-5333.

Tap Into Your Network

Sign into MONTCLAIRconnect, your online community that serves as your portal to all things alumni! Explore the community to expand your network. Search the directory and connect with fellow Red Hawks, join the WIN networking group and others from your school or college, program or affinity. Plus, access all of your favorite benefits, including Gmail for Life, our library of career webinars and workshops, discount codes and more! Signing on is easy. You can even import your LinkedIn profile!