The AHANA Alumni Advisory Council: a Brief History

A driving force for progress at the Heights and beyond.

Long before the official founding of the Boston College AHANA Alumni Advisory Council (AAAC) in 2014, luminaries like the late Keith A. Francis ’76, Kendall Reid ’79, H’18, Kevin Smart ’99, and a host of others were planting the seeds of this influential group at the Heights. Its roots extend to the Black Talent Program at BC, where folks like Tanji ’86, P’17, and Bob Marshall ’88, P’17, worked to build a home for marginalized and underserved Eagles.

Formally, however, the AAAC started with a 2013 summit that brought together leading lights of the Boston College African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, and Native American (AHANA) alumni community. Their charter was simple: reconnect with alumni of color, engaging with them in a more personal manner. Moreover, they considered how to position AHANA alumni in rooms where decisions are made at BC, giving them a seat at the table and a forum for their voices to be heard.

“It was a really galvanizing time,” reflects Arnie Sookram ’91 on the summit. “We were inspired by this mission that we were drafting together. How do we engage with alumni of color, get folks to dedicate their time and resources, mentor alumni, and help them in their careers? It was about strengthening that fabric that BC has with its alumni of color.”

Less than a decade into its existence, the group has played a pivotal role in the life of the University and its alumni. As AAAC executive chair Bob Marshall says, the progress driven by the council speaks for itself: the number of AHANA members on the Board of Trustees has increased sevenfold, and they’ve generated a newfound commitment and excitement among AHANA alumni.

Beyond building influence at the University, the AAAC has become an invaluable resource for current students and alumni. From educational and leadership programs to professional development opportunities and networking events, the council has fostered the personal and professional advancement of its constituents.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAAC created dynamic online programming to help fill in new social and communal gaps. The council hosted Zoom presentations with distinguished AHANA alumni on topics as varied as racial disparities pertaining to the pandemic, prayer services for Black History Month, and conversations regarding mental health in communities of color and supporting the empowerment of women of color.

On the programmatic side, RECONNECT remains the AAAC’s signature event. Founded by Keith A. Francis in 2009, this weekend-long celebration on campus brings together graduates from the 1960s up to today. RECONNECT has become a profound homecoming for “a lot of alumni of color who felt like they hadn’t been invited back,” as founding AAAC member Juan Concepción, Esq., ’96, MEd’97, MBA’03, JD’03 says.

“That campus is home to so many memories and relationships. It’s a place where so many dreams began. People found themselves at BC,” continues Concepción. The third iteration of RECONNECT comes to the Heights in July 2024. 

“We have a great history at BC, we’ve been contributing to this community, and we’ll continue to do so,” says Concepción. And it’s true that everything the council does is grounded in a sense of belonging. “The AAAC is like a little house we’re building, and we hope people will continue to come back to it.”

Reconnect III

Involved, Engaged, Inspired

A cherished pillar of the Boston College Alumni Association’s programming, RECONNECT is an event specifically designed for AHANA alumni from all over the world to come home to the Heights for a weekend of celebrating their community and connecting to their alma mater.

The next chapter, RECONNECT III, is coming July 26–28, 2024. Visit for more.