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Common Ground
BY LARRY TEITELBAUM
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For inspiration, PAALAS founders need only gaze across campus. Thirty years ago, Wharton’s African-American MBA Association (AAMBAA) first sponsored the Whitney Young Conference, named after the legendary educator, civil rights activist and longtime leader of the National Urban League. As the conference grew in stature, so too did the push for a professorship to honor Whitney Young Jr., who was not an alumnus. In 1995, students finally fulfilled their goal by raising $1.25 million to endow the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professorship.

Certainly, paying homage to Alexander in a similar manner is central to PAALAS’ mission. But it is far from its only mission. Reavis envisions forums, both physical and virtual, where African-American alumni can talk about their careers and the issues that bind them. A web site, which could feature online chat rooms, is under construction to facilitate such conversations.

"The school has meant so much to me personally and in the development of my own career," says Reavis, "(that) I want to do whatever I can for it."

Gay, assistant general counsel for Verizon, could not agree more. "The reason why I am here today working as a lawyer for Verizon is because of the great education and experiences I had at Penn, which opened doors for me to do a clerkship and opened doors for me to work at a major law firm and eventually I made my way here."

 

 
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