Black Colleagues Association (BCA) Homecoming 2021 Co-Chairs Dennis Banks ‘85 and Sylvester Davis ’99, M.S. ’04, say celebrating Homecoming each year with the Illinois State Black Colleagues Association is a highlight of their year as it allows them a time to reconnect and fellowship with lifelong friends and experience at their beloved alma mater.

Dennis Banks

Having missed Homecoming last year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this year’s celebration will be more special thanks to the Homecoming committee’s planning. The weekend of fun-filled activities begins Thursday, October 14, with a Virtual Scholarship Celebration. On Friday, the BCA will host a Black Alumni Meet & Greet and encourage all to be on campus for Saturday’s parade, tailgate, and of course, the football game as the Redbirds take on the North Dakota State Bison.

Banks and Davis said the BCA is honored to celebrate the University’s 100th Homecoming milestone as the COVID pandemic persists and key alumni make their transition.

“This past year has reminded the entire world of life’s precious nature. The fellowship we experience each year at Homecoming with our alums is priceless. Most of us leave exhausted (in the best way possible) on Sunday,’’ said Banks.

Sylvester Davis

Davis agreed and added this year’s events allow the group to pay homage to the vision of BCA founder Andrew Purnell ’57. He envisioned an alumni affinity group dedicated to keeping Illinois State affordable and accessible to Black students. With more than 300 members from across the nation active today, the group actively raises money for student scholarships and support to empower Black students.

With Purnell’s recent passing, Davis said the BCA Homecoming celebration creates a space for a well-timed tribute.

“This is our opportunity to honor Purnell’s wishes and to be more visible on campus and for the undergraduates who will one day carry this torch.”

Illinois State University Black Colleagues Association’s Homecoming events will be held on campus, free of charge to all guests. To reserve a room in the Black Colleagues Association room block at the group’s host hotel, the Holiday Inn Bloomington-Normal, attendees must register for the BCA Meet & Greet. Registration is open through October 6.

Banks encouraged all alumni to consider becoming contributing members of the Black Colleagues Association. “Join now and make a difference to change lives.”

For regular updates on BCA events and news, follow the Black Colleagues Association-Illinois State University on Facebook