MSU Alumni Heed the Call and Converge on Martha’s Vineyard for Week of Fellowship and Fundraising
For the second consecutive year, faithful alumni and friends of Morgan made the pilgrimage to the quaint town of Oak Bluffs on the northeastern shore of Martha’s Vineyard. In fact, black Vineyarders have unofficially adopted the month of August as the designated occasion to visit the island with most finding their way to the town of Oak Bluffs. During this time period in particular, Martha’s Vineyard is the epicenter for black vacationers attracting influential African Americans from near and far – many of whom are alumni from the nation’s many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Seeing an opportunity, as well as a lack of representation on the island from the ‘National Treasure,’ Morgan alum Greg Jones (’79) put out the call and invited fellow Morganites from all classes to join him on the cape. From there, a new annual tradition was born. Branded Morgan on the Vineyard, the annual retreat to the Cape created an opportunity for alumni to reconnect, network and support Morgan all the while enjoying the Vineyard’s intimate setting.
This year’s Morgan on the Vineyard included a week-long itinerary of events and activities that included meet-and-greets, bicycle rides, polar bear swims and beach parties. The festivities culminated with a special reception and a “State of the University” address from Morgan President David Wilson at the island home Jones shares with his wife Lauren. More than 75 Morgan alumni and friends gathered for the reception hosted by the Joneses. Last year, the event’s inaugural year, the number was nearly 50.
“The strength of Morgan is found in the alumni who protect, advance and support its mission,” said Jones. “It’s now our watch. It’s our turn. It’s our responsibility.”
By the end of the evening, the Morgan on the Vineyard reception had surpassed its minimum fundraising goal of $25,000 and its targeted goal of $50,000. Those who were asked to give exceeded expectations and in one night, gifting the Morgan State University Foundation more than $100,000 in donations to support the Student Success and Retention Fund at Morgan.
“We are indebted to our dear alumni and particularly Greg Jones whose Morgan on the Vineyard vision has brought us to this moment,” said Donna Howard, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director for the Morgan State University Foundation. “Morgan alumni are truly dedicated to their alma mater and when provided with the opportunity to give back and support the success of Morgan students they stepped up raising more than $100,000 donations. And the gifts are still coming in.”
Thanks to Greg and Lauren Jones, the second annual Morgan on the Vineyard was a tremendous success galvanizing alumni to advance Morgan’s mission, preserve the university’s legacy and support student success.