Over the past five decades, the Black Student Union has played an active role in the Chapman University community by enriching the campus and student experience through cultural, educational and social activities, empowering Black students through fundamental support and resources, and by fostering connections with other communities and groups on campus.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its founding on the Chapman campus, the Black Student Union hosted a New Orleans, French Quarter themed event, featuring a jazz blues band and authentic Southern-Creole food, on Saturday, October 7 from 11 a.m – 2:30 p.m., as part of The Chapman Family Homecoming Celebration.
The Chapman University Black Student Union was created in 1967. Its first elected president was John H. Sanders ’70, who remains an active alumni member, and its first staff advisor was the campus chaplain, Dr. William Carpenter. Both Sanders (a practicing attorney) and Carpenter (who is now retired) will be returning to campus to celebrate this milestone anniversary of the organization they helped to found.
The event not only celebrated 50 years of the Black Student Union, but also fundraise for the remaining balance of the Paul Mayfield Endowment Fund, which honors the memory of Paul Mayfield, a studious and supportive BSU member who was killed in a car accident in Cape Town, South Africa, while traveling as part of Chapman’s World Campus Afloat in the spring of 1970.
Although the scholarship was initially intended to be an endowment (that is, a permanent fund that grows over time and generates scholarship funds in perpetuity), it was only awarded once. In 2012, BSU students and alumni came together to fulfill the original intent of the scholarship by generously establishing the BSU Paul Mayfield Endowed Scholarship Fund and have been working consistently to generate the funds to establish it as a permanent source of scholarship support.
Also reuniting for the 50th anniversary celebration are four of Paul Mayfield’s classmates from Chapman College and World Campus Afloat: Dr. JoAnne (Jenkins) Cornwell, the keynote speaker for the 50th anniversary event and Founder of Sisterlocks; Emma (Gray) Salahuddin ’71, travel specialist and didgeridoo musician; Carmen (Bryant) Twillie, singer and performance artist featured on Circle of Life from the original Lion King soundtrack; and Stephanie Crittendon ’72, clinical social worker.
BSU members and alumni are hopeful that the funds raised through the 50th anniversary celebration will bring the BSU Paul Mayfield Endowed Scholarship Fund to maturity so that the scholarship can be awarded each year to deserving students for generations to come.