Maryville University announces the DeBaun Black Alumni Network, named after Everlouis Rutledge DeBaun, ’58, the first African American graduate of Maryville University.
The DeBaun Black Alumni Network will empower and provide support for current Black students through mentorship and scholarship as well as provide and promote opportunities for Black alumni to grow personal and professional networks.
“Everlouis Rutledge DeBaun forged a path for myriad students who have followed in her footsteps, creating the rich cultural fabric of today’s campus community,” said President Mark Lombardi, PhD. “Maryville is committed to expanding access and opportunity for all learners. The DeBaun Black Alumni Network affirms the importance of our history and those that paved the way for an inclusive campus environment.”
After receiving her degree in Medical Technology in 1958, Everlouis worked in hospitals throughout the St. Louis area. She later attended Harris Teachers College and pursued a long career in education with St. Louis Public Schools. Her lifelong passion for learning and teaching inspired all three of her children to become educators.
“The naming of the Black Alumni Network after my mother acknowledges the challenges she faced and the triumphs she achieved during her lifetime,” said Michael DeBaun, MD, MPH, member of the Maryville University board of trustees and Director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease.
“It’s my hope that the DeBaun Black Alumni Network will be a homebase for Black students and alumni, so they thrive in their lives. May the group provide opportunities for jobs, internships and a social network that identifies the unique challenges that people of African descent face while living in America,” he said.
Passion Bragg, ’96, and Angela Casimere, ’84, will serve as the inaugural co-chairs for the DeBaun Black Alumni Network. Future programming includes networking and social events and the opportunity to support the University’s strategic efforts.
“It’s so important to have this network so we can share our talents, our time and our opportunities to pave the way for future students who will need our help and support,” Bragg said. “I was able to attend Maryville because of scholarship support, and my time at the University laid the foundation for my longevity as a K-12 educator. This network belongs to all of us, and Everlouis embodies what we wish for all graduates.”