During the month of August, the local chapter of West Virginia State University Alumni hosted their annual reunion in Hampton Roads. Beginning in 1991, Lois Keyes Brooks, a 1960 graduate of West Virginia Sate and her husband Raymond had the wonderful idea of getting local alumni (within two hours of their home) to a cookout. Jean Watson Jeffrey a 1960 graduate of West Virginia State hosted the group in 2005 where they enjoyed several activities including a Friday night dinner on the Spirit of Norfolk cruise ship. It was during that weekend that the alumni decided to, every year, during the month of August.
At that time, members of the 1960 class volunteered to host the reunion. They have gathered in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. Their time together is spent remembering old times, continuing and renewing friendships, and just fellowshipping with each other. In addition they recognize special occasions in the lives of what they consider “Extended Family Members.”
This year’s reunion was hosted by Jean Watson-Jeffrey, who has been both a Southern Region Alumni Director and a former Alumnus of the Year, and the Hampton Roads West Virginia State University Alumni Association. They began their festivities, on Friday, at the Golden Coral in Chesapeake. Saturday afternoon was time for good eating, laughing and talking, and looking at pictures from yesteryear followed by a little clubbing. The weekend ended with a “See you next year breakfast” held at the Cracker Barrel located in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake. Henry and “Genny” Bellinger, of Maryland, will host the next West Virginia State University reunion.
Out of town alumni and guest included Henry and “Genny” Bellinger from Odflanton, Maryland (Henry carried the “JOURNAL and GUIDE” in Salem, Virginia during the 1950s); Sandra and Robert Evans of Dunbar, West Virginia; Barbara Gray of Ardmore, Pennsylvania; June A. Garner of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Madlyn White Ridley-Fisher from Washington, DC.; Freida Christian Maxwell of Suitland, Maryland; and Dr. James S. and Lilly G. Brown from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Mrs. Doris Jones, 91 years of age, a member of the local West Virginia chapter was the oldest alum present. The oldest guest present, at the young age of 93, was Mrs. Jeanette French.
If there are any West Virginia State University Alumni, “Yellow Jackets,” living in the Hampton Roads area and are interested in joining the alumni association, Please call Eva Rice (1956), interim president at (757) 340-2472 or Jean Watson-Jeffrey at (757) 461-1149. The alumni chapter meets every 3rd Saturday of each month either at a member’s home or a restaurant. Remember that our historically Black colleges and universities need us! All of the graduates and those who attended one of these illustrious institutions of higher learning need to step up to the plate and help support our HBCUs. Their survival is on the line!