Bulldog Bites  Membership Newsletter

September 2020

December 2020

March 2021

June 2021

November 2021

A Message from the Chair

of the General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated

Janine Smith '84 (BA) '87 (MA)
March 2021


 Your Alumni Association is continuing the work of bringing Fisk alumni together. Our committees are working diligently to plan and implement ways to keep alumni connected and support the university. I ask that you continue to follow us on Facebook, as well as the university (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).


We appreciate alumni efforts associated with the Home Depot Retool Your School campaign and anticipate hearing great news on April 14, 2021. Watch it live!


Let me share a few updates:

  • Plans for the new Parrish building are underway
  • Planning is in the final stages of the Virtual Reunion 2021, set for May 23rd and 24th. Registration links will be distributed shortly.
  • The university plans a socially distanced commencement on Monday, May 24, 2021, on Tennessee State University’s campus in Hale Stadium.
  • We are planning for a virtual Annual Meeting of the Association this year in June. Last year was beyond our expectations! We plan to reach those heights again.


Thanks to alumni who serve on our national committees. We appreciate all alumni who have been nominated by their regions to move the alumni association forward!  Additionally, thanks to all alumni who support Fisk from the local, chapter, and regional levels!


Together we will make a difference!

Members Make the Difference

A Message from Will J. Carter '57

Membership Committee Chair
March 2021

Kudos to the efforts of the Class of 1991. This group of dedicated Fiskites put together a rather unique fundraiser as part of their recent virtual class activity with Class Agent Jennifer N. Gamble '91 at the helm. The class raffled chances for alumni to win
memberships in the Association – one Life Membership ($750 Value), one Sustaining Membership ($250 Value) and one Annual Membership ($50 Value). A special thanks goes to Tonya Johnson Smallwood ’91, who spearheaded the effort to increase membership. Join me in publicly welcoming the winners.

  • ·        Kellie Brown ’91 - $750 GAAFU Life Membership
  • ·        Dathon O’Banion ’90 - $250 GAAFU Subscribing Life Membership
  • ·        Gregory Dendy ’18 - $50 Annual Membership for 2021


    I want to give special recognition to Gregory, who transferred his newly won Annual Membership to another Fiskite. Soon after he found out he had won; he immediately solidified a full paid Life Membership. Gregory paid it forward and is currently our youngest Life Member.


    Let me give a BIG Thank You to those who continue to join the Association. This year the Membership Committee has a goal of 200 new members. It is imperative that we sons and daughters of Fisk be focused on improving efforts to increase the membership of the GAAFU, Inc. as this is the lifeline of our organization. Even though the COVID 19 pandemic poses distractions, we are moving in the right direction.


    As you know, the $50 Annual Membership Fee in the GAAFU, Inc. has been this modest amount for a long, long time. Likewise, the $750 Life Membership Fee has remained the same for several decades. I think it would be neither unreasonable nor imprudent for a modest increase in the Life Membership Fee to be considered as expenses do not remain constant. Your support is very much appreciated.


    Fisk Forever,

    Will J. Carter '57, Chairman, GAAFU, Inc. Membership Committee



March 2021


Fellow Fiskites:


I have had the privilege of supporting vaccine development over the past 40+ years, coincidentally married to the chief architect and senior researcher who developed the active component of most SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.  Together for 42 years, Dr. Barney Graham and I have traveled an interesting road, and in the process, I have become an "armchair vaccinologist".  Thus, here are some key facts about the pandemic's impact on African Americans:

  • Coronavirus continues to be a threat disproportionately in African American communities, with three times the hospitalization rate and death rate of the majority population;
  • It is possible for the death rate of African Americans to increase to 4 times or more the rate of majority Americans if AA vaccination rates are low;
  • Vaccine distribution and access is also a problem that may be as great a barrier as vaccine hesitancy for achieving a high level of population immunity in the black community.
  • It is important to raise questions with your local community vaccine distributors, or create a community monitoring system to assure racial equity in distribution.  Make sure that data collection includes designation of race in your community;
  • Masks and handwashing are still important and effective measures.  In high-risk environments where social distancing is not possible or air flow is limited, double masking is recommended;
  • Minimizing community infection rates decreases the chances for developing viral mutations. So everything you can do to prevent becoming infected and/or infecting others will help.  Current mutant viruses are sensitive to current vaccines, except for the Astra Zeneca vaccine which is not available in the United States.


    For more information:  https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2021/01/26/moderna-covid-vaccine-science-fast/6555783002/

Cynthia Turner-Graham, M.D.

Class of '75

Fisk University, in its educational programs and activities involving students and employees, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or age. Furthermore, the university does not discriminate against veterans or individuals with disabilities.