The Jacksonville, FL, chapter of the Alumni Association is making a comeback. Chapter President Mark Register ’94 explains how.
Dr. Register, a local psychologist, recalls what he’s learned about the chapter’s past, saying, “The chapter was vibrant. When some leadership relocated, there wasn’t a structure in place to keep it going. When I moved here in 2007, I ran into a couple of other brothers from Morehouse, and we decided to start meeting informally in 2012. Renard Rawls ’92, Ronald Pollock ’88, and other brothers who came along were instrumental in helping us put real material behind the steps that we were taking to establish a group with purpose.
“We moved from there to seeing a few other brothers joining us and decided to formalize to keep things going. For the better part of the last year, we’ve been meeting monthly to continue to grow our numbers. The National Association has been very helpful in that effort.”
Earlier this year, the chapter received tragic news that became a turning point for their development. Vernon Stephens ’97, who once was a resident in Hubert Hall when Dr. Register when was an RA there, passed away in April. Dr. Register recalls, “We were devastated by his loss and came together to support each other. We decided to plan some events and realized that it was time to be of help to each other and our community.”
The chapter leadership has created some practical short-term goals that include determining how they want our chapter to “look” (e.g., size and activities). They plan to be deliberate in their activities to ensure the chapter’s longevity. They hope to build coalitions with other organizations in Jacksonville so that they represent Morehouse as they build a footprint in the community as educated black men. Dr. Register explains, “We really want to do it right. We know that the previous organization was a powerful one but that it wasn’t able to sustain itself. We want to be really thoughtful about how we go forward. We don’t want to lose our momentum. We aren’t trying to make a big splash every time we do something, but we want to do the little things that matter. We want to keep the Morehouse name out there. Jacksonville has a vision to be a wonderful city, and we want to be part of that.
The chapter recently held a send-off event for new freshmen coming from their area. (Get the details on that event and more pictures here.)
If you’re in the Jacksonville area and would like to join the chapter’s noble mission, contact them through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/
“We hope to be a beacon for best practices among alumni associations and have a footprint in the community that promotes leadership and encourages all others here in the Jacksonville area to reach for that crown Howard Thurman placed above our heads.” – Dr. Mark Register ’94
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