The WAAD Griot

Have you seen our new newsletter: The WAAD Griot?  It was sent via email in December to all WAAD members.  If you didn't receive it, or you're unsure whether your email address is current, visit the Wellesley Alumnae website and update your information here

Below are some excerpts from our first issue:

Why "Griot"?
We chose the name "griot" for our newsletter because of its meaning in West African culture. The griot legacy stretches back for hundreds of years, as the person who carries the cultural knowledge and identity of the people. The griot is a chronicler of history—keeping track of the history and developments of the people throughout time, and guarding the knowledge of the people. We hope the WAAD Griot will become the chronicle of our collective history as alumnae of African descent of Wellesley College.

President’s Message from Patricia Mell ’75
Greetings, members of Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent (WAAD—pronounced WADE)! As our second year comes to a close, I am very pleased to share with you in this, our first newsletter, some of the steps WAAD has achieved as it journeys to become a rich resource for you at each stage of your life.

Since our inception, your first Board has had as its primary purpose, the creation of an organizational framework that would support and advance the interests expressed by WAAD members. Those interests were: recruitment and admission; networking – social and business; mentoring; and interaction with current Wellesley students of African descent. We are working on all of these fronts, and have accomplished the following: held two WAAD Worldwide events (in 2011 and 2012) around the country, attended by hundreds of WAAD members, welcomed the classes of 2011 and 2012 into WAAD with gifts, and established a presence at Alumnae Leadership Council and with the College. To enhance communication among our members, we now have a blog, and we’re on Facebook. We have also developed the beginnings of a mentor-mentee program. And, to show our WAAD pride, we now have fabulous merchandise with the WAAD logo. On the financial side, we have established a PayPal account to facilitate purchases and contributions, and we’ve filed our Form 990 with IRS – yes, we are a real organization now.

Despite these accomplishments however, WAAD has a great deal of work ahead. As indicated by its new President, Karen Williamson ’69, the WCAA has pledged to assist WAAD to the extent that it can, but the reality is this: the lion’s share of the work of making WAAD into a vibrant and self-sustaining organization lies with each WAAD member.

Our journey towards this WAAD will be successful with your participation in the next building blocks of the organization. These building blocks are as follows

Regional Executive Committees. These committees will coordinate admissions and networking events at the local level, and will provide WAAD members with the materials/information necessary to do so effectively. There will be an organizational meeting for each region in the upcoming weeks. Check the master calendar for the date or contact your Regional Director.

Creation of varied, but regular information flow to WAAD members. This newsletter is a first step. What other forms of communication should we use to most effectively reach you? What would you like to share? Contact VP Communications, Michelle Davis Petelinz ’78, if you are interested in any of these projects.

Creation of a national WAAD networking forum/directory. Many WAAD members are in business, and as a benefit of membership, we would like to develop a WAAD B2B Directory. If you have an expertise in or interest in the creation of this or have other ideas, contact VP Membership Angela Norton Tyler. There will be an information gathering meeting in the upcoming weeks.

Your participation on the newly created Fund Development Committee or Budget Committee. The goal of these committees is to ensure that WAAD has adequate resources to support its strategic priorities at all levels. If you have experience in either arena, contact Treasurer, Novella Brady.

Creation of a post for an archivist. We would like to create an oral history of alumnae of African descent at Wellesley and to otherwise preserve a record of WAAD. If you have expertise in setting up an archive, please contact, WAAD President, Patricia Mell ’75.
Make regular financial contributions to WAAD. These projects and the establishment of WAAD as a self-supporting institution can only be accomplished by your contributions. $10 each month would go a long way toward WAAD achieving its goals in support of you. Our PayPal account makes this very easy to do.

In her interview for this newsletter, WCAA President Karen Williamson ’69 spoke of the treasure she has in the friendships she made at Wellesley. Perhaps this is the best gift the WCAA has given us in its support for WAAD’s creation. With WAAD, we have the opportunity to develop, nurture, renew, and cherish the personal relationships and support of each other as a unique group of peers, women of African descent who attended Wellesley College. What we make of this opportunity is entirely up to each one of us. Please accept my invitation to each one of you to step up and reach out. Participate. There are a number of ways to do so.

On behalf of the WAAD Board, I thank you in advance for your participation and for the fostering, strengthening, and broadening of friendships which is WAAD’s purpose.


Patricia Mell '75, WAAD President

To become the self-sustaining, vibrant organization we all want, WAAD Members are encouraged to contribute financially to our success. Below are suggested giving categories and guidelines. Please note these are guidelines only; please give what you can, as often as you can. Your donations support our efforts to build stronger connections to one another. WAAD is a 501(c) (3) organization and your contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with applicable law.

Sisterly Circle / New Alumna
Description: Wellesley students who’ve graduated in the most recent class
Suggested contribution: $5

Supportive Circle / Young Alumna
Description: Wellesley alumnae prior to their first Reunion
Suggested contribution: $15
Sustaining Circle / Regular Member
Description: Alumnae of Wellesley College
Suggested contribution: $25

Benefactor Circle / Enterprising Member
Description: Alumnae who are in business and would like to share their services with the Wellesley community
Suggested contribution: $50

Visionary Circle
Description: Alumnae who wish to give at the highest levels
Suggested contribution: $100 and up

Options for payment are as follows:
 Credit Card
– Via the ‘DONATE’ button/PayPal link on the WCAA website:
– Please make checks payable to ‘WAAD’; checks can be mailed to:
WAAD, P.O. Box 1059, Beltsville, MD 20704
Please direct questions to WAAD Treasurer Novella Brady ’98 (cell: 443-858-1622 or email: novella.brady@gmail.com)
SAVE THE DATE: March 3, 2013
For our third annual WAAD WORLDWIDE celebrations across the country.
Send your ideas, contacts, or information for the Board’s planning committee, to
Cheryl Holland, kyraali@gmail.com.