SEASON 2, EPISODE 9
Today’s guest is S. Kendall Hall, President of the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance, Inc. Rutgers University is the 8th oldest college in the U.S. having received its charter in 1766—that’s 10 years before the Revolution! Recent research has reminded us that the university’s foundation stands on land taken from the indigenous Lenape people. Additionally, the university benefited from slave labor and funds derived from purchasing and selling slaves.
With a history like this, you can imagine how difficult it is to create a sense of belonging on campus for students whose ancestors were directly involved and/or impacted by these injustices.
For centuries, there was no association dedicated to serving the alumni of African descent. But that all changed when students banded together in 1989 to form the original Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance on campus.
RAAA was re-launched in 2001 (and incorporated in 2006) as an all-volunteer organization serving the African, Afro-Asian, Black/African-American, Afro-Caribbean & Afro-Latinx alumni encompassing all of Rutgers University’s undergraduate and graduate schools in New Jersey.
In this episode, S. Kendall Hall, President of the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance, Inc. shares her passion for building unity and developing camaraderie among alumni of African descent. She also explains how the organization is focused on cultivating community not only amongst alumni but also among students, faculty, and staff. Kendall understands how a student’s experience of belonging while studying at the university directly impacts their involvement as alumni which then indirectly impacts the experience of future students at Rutgers.
And it makes sense, right? If you don’t feel like you belong at your university, when you matriculate, you walk away.
Envisioning a more inclusive and empowering future for both students and alumni, Kendall has actively been involved in running various aspects of RAAA, Inc. since 2001. Notably, she worked directly with the class of 1971 on the their class gift: the Paul Robeson Plaza to honor one of Rutger’s most famous graduates.
During our interview, Kendall shares not only why this project was so significant for the university, but also why she was so intent on personally helping with it—even though she graduated more than 18 years after the class of 1971! She explains how the Paul Robeson Plaza has become a favorite place for students to gather, take graduation photos, and return to at homecoming!
(Pictured left: The Class of 1971 Milestone Committee to build the Paul Robeson Plaza – 45th graduation anniversary gift.)
🎧 Click here to listen to this episode:
About S. Kendall Hall
Kendall Hall is a 1988 graduate of Rutgers College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. She later attended Middlesex College where she obtained an A.A.S. in Accounting. She has actively been involved in running various aspects of RAAA, Inc. since 2001. She previously served in the capacity as Vice President and Treasurer; additional responsibilities include serving as the Hall of Fame Chair since 2008.
Kendall was inducted into the Loyal Sons and Daughters of Rutgers in April 2015. This Rutgers Alumni Association award recognizes volunteers for extraordinary service to their Alma Mater.
She is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Her background is corporate accounting and finance with over 20+ years’ experience in the field.
Prior to retiring in 2016 in anticipation of relocating to California, Kendall was a member of First Baptist Church of South Bound Brook, where she served as a Trustee, Missionary, and a Ministry Leader of the Wilbert C. Hall Memorial Community Library. Her work related affiliations included the Women of Color (WOC) Leadership Book Club and the Chubb Partnership of Women (CPOW).
With a strong belief in community and serving others, she has led efforts to support and participate in various charities and social causes. As a former Secretary and Board of Trustees for the Global Literacy Project, Inc., Kendall led a RAAA contingent to South Africa. While living in California, she volunteered her time at the Kid’s Closet/ Samaritan House in San Mateo County while continuing to lead RAAA remotely.
Words Kendall lives and leads by: “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48
BONUS: Charter Day 2020 podcast with a student interviewer: Jim Savage and Kendall Hall
The Scarlet and Black Project
Rutgers is one of the oldest universities in America and this means that its history is a complicated one. The Scarlet and Black Project is a historical exploration of the experiences of two disenfranchised populations, African Americans, and Native Americans, at Rutgers University. Learn more here: Scarlet and Black Project (rutgers.edu)
🔗 Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance, Inc:
- Website: www.rutgersblackalumni.org
- Donate: https://rutgersblackalumni.org/donate/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RutgersBlkAlumni
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?
- Facebook for Scholarships: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212828599376483
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rutgersblkalum/?hl=en
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/s-kendall-hall-27415712/
🙌 Connect with S. Kendall Hall
President of Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance, Inc.
Phone: (732) 595-8442
🔗 Mentioned in this Episode:
- About Paul Robeson | Paul Robeson at Rutgers
- Tech Soup: https://techsoup.org
- Samaritan House: https://samaritanhousesanmateo.org/
- Black Alumni Collective (RAAA is a partner school): https://blackalumnicollective.org/
- Detroit Hives: https://detroithives.org/