RECONNECT II will celebrate Boston College's AHANA alumni community with a range of campus events July 21-24.

More than 600 alumni, friends, and family from across the nation will gather at BC July 21-24 to celebrate the University’s African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American alumni community. RECONNECT II, which will welcome returning AHANA graduates from the 1960s through 2016, will provide attendees with an opportunity to reengage with the University through campus events ranging from presentations, discussions, networking, and walking tours to activities for entertainment, fun, and faith.

“I am thrilled that RECONNECT II will once again bring together our AHANA community in a celebration of the institution that bonded us together,” said Steve Pemberton, a 1989 graduate of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences who is currently vice-president and chief diversity officer at Walgreens. “In a time of considerable unrest in our society, RECONNECT II affirms that we are still stronger together than we might ever be ourselves. This weekend presents a wonderful opportunity to recommit and rededicate ourselves to this wonderful institution that has been such an important part of all our lives.”

"RECONNECT is about welcoming and belonging," said Juan Alexander Concepcion, a 1996 graduate of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences who earned a master's degree from the Lynch School of Education in 1997 and dual M.B.A./J.D. degrees from the Carroll School of Management and Boston College Law School in 2003. Concepcion, who is now director of policy and HR compliance counsel for the MassDOT/MBTA as well as a BC trustee associate, was an organizer of the original RECONNECT event in 2009, and  co-chair and founding member of the AHANA Alumni Advisory Council that was established thereafter. "I couldn't be more excited to welcome over 600 alumni and friends of the University to this historic event, which has been fondly dubbed by many as the largest gathering of AHANA alumni of Boston College."

The first RECONNECT event helped to increase self-awareness and meaningful participation among AHANA alumni at all levels and dimensions of the University, Concepcion said, including in the successful "Light the World" campaign and within the ongoing work of BC's regional alumni chapters across the country and the world. RECONNECT II, he said, will serve to solidify BC's commitment to AHANA alumni, while also "galvanizing into meaningful action alumni wishing to advance the core mission of bringing forth men and women for others to 'set the world on fire.'"

RECONNECT II highlights include an admission update session that will explore the challenges of managing a 30,000 student application pool while maintaining a diverse student body; a career networking session; remarks by University President William. P. Leahy, S.J.; an AHANA Alumni Advisory Council presentation; an Asian infused jazz luncheon, salsa dancing, a Caribbean lobster bake with a live steel band; a family fun barbeque, and a concluding service and brunch on Sunday.

In addition, on Saturday night, a RECONNECT II black-tie gala will include a tribute to Keith A. Francis, a 1976 graduate of the Lynch School of Education who was a prominent member of the University’s AHANA community and served as a mentor to countless students and alumni. A University trustee and a driving force behind RECONNECT 2009, Francis passed away in 2011, but his lifelong efforts, visionary leadership, and legacy continue to shape BC today. The inaugural Keith A. Francis Inspiration Award, created in his memory, was presented at the event to to Dan Bunch ’79, M.S.W. ’81, who began his professional career at Boston College in 1982 and has since 1987 served as director of its Learning to Learn program, which helps provide students with the support they need to succeed in college and beyond.

“Being part of the AHANA alumni community is pretty special for me,” says Drudys Ledbetter, a 2004 alumna of the Connell School of Nursing and a clinical project manager at Capsule Technologie.  “My sister and I are returning with our children and are sharing the experience of the Heights with them. Boston College is a huge part of our family. The opportunity to network with other alumni is priceless. I look forward to hearing other stories of other alumni experiences at BC, reminiscing about our times on campus during campus tours, and showing my children dorm rooms where I lived for four years.

“I want to begin to show my children the legacy of our University," she said, "to show them that there are people who look just like they do, who also graduated from there, and who are doing wonderful things in the community, in business, and in ministry.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit the RECONNECT II website.

—Sean Hennessey | News & Public Affairs