WT Hosts 1st Black Alumni Reunion - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

WT Hosts 1st Black Alumni Reunion

Mrs. Helen Neal Mrs. Helen Neal

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

CANYON, TX - This weekend, West Texas A&M University's homecoming will be extra special for some African- American alums. The school will host its first ever Black alumni reunion.

WT professor and co-author of "African Americans in Amarillo," Claudia Stuart tells NewsChannel 10, this reunion is especially important because for a huge chunk of WT's 100 year history, blacks were not academically present. Now, there are thousands of African American students and professionals tied to university.  We're told African-American graduates of are coming from all over to re-connect with fellow alum, current students and their alma mater.

"It's always nice to have someone who looks like you, to see what they achieve. And then share it with your kids and their kids." said Stuart.

Mrs. Helen Neal, who was the first black to receive her bachelor's degree will also be honored. Neal graduated from WT in august of 1962. While she was attending the integrated college, her four children were going to segregated Amarillo public schools.

"My mother always told me, you need to prepare yourself.So, when doors are open, you can just walk right through. You wouldn't have to get prepared for it." Neal tells NewsChannel 10.

Mayor of Canyon, Quinn Alexander, has proclaimed tomorrow, a day of firsts.In Alexander's proclamation, he recognizes both Neal and Mrs. Marvel White. White graduated the same day as Neal. She was the first black to receive a master's degree.

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