The RMU African American Experience

Robert Morris University offers an array of clubs, activities, and other initiatives to enhance the university experience of students of color.

Student Groups

Black Student Union 
The Black Student Union was developed to promote a sense of unity among minority students, provide a forum and educational opportunities related to multi-cultural issues and foster cultural exchange on RMU's campus. These goals are accomplished through educational, cultural, and social activities. Membership is open to any RMU student interested in promoting cultural diversity.

National Council of Negro Women 
The local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women helps to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent, focusing on education, leadership, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, and health and wellness.

National Society of Black Engineers 
RMU's collegiate chapter supports the mission of this organization, which held its annual national convention in Pittsburgh in March 2018. The NSBE offers academic excellence programs, scholarships, leadership training, professional development, and access to career opportunities for thousands of members.

SEMS Diversity Initiatives 
To help build a stronger workforce, stronger communities, and a stronger society, the Robert Morris University School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science is committed to recruiting and supporting women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields, both as students and faculty members.

Black Male Leadership Development Institute 
BMLDI is co-sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University and begins with a weeklong residential program on the RMU campus. Throughout the week participants attend seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and leadership exercises and hear keynote speakers on topics including values clarification, identity formation, visioning, community engagement, networking, and dealing with media portrayal of African American issues.

Prominent Alumni

Amb. Robin Sanders D’10 
RMU Board of Trustees

Heath Bailey ’96 M’06 
Academic principal, United Arab Emirates Schools in Abu Dhabi

Kenya Boswell M’06 
President, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania

Daren Ellerbee M’07 
Community affairs and equity strategist, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

Ricky Frazier Jr. ‘01 
Central divisional vice president of process improvement and customer retention, Comcast

Jada Grandy ’00 M’04 
Senior vice president and community reinvestment act strategies director, Fifth Third Bank

Olabrice Jackson ‘87 
Founder, OWN: Onyx Woman Network

Chaz Kellem M’12 
Senior director of advocacy for race and gender equity, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Brenda Lauderback '72 
Chairwoman, Denny's Corp.

Jarvis Powers ’08 M’11 
Lead security staff systems engineer, Home Depot

Vladimir St. Surin ’04 M’07 D’15 
Dean, Community College of Allegheny County

Stephanie Simmons M’06 
Vice president, BNY Mellon

Howard Slaughter D’06 
President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh

Briana Smith ‘11 
Business systems analyst, PNC

Jasmine Tate ‘13 

Erik J. Thomas ‘09 
Owner, designer and developer, Bright Thought Design

Raymond Thomas ’00 M’03 D’11 
Director of child and family services, A Second Chance

Distinguished Guests and Speakers

Mike Tomlin 
16th head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Julian Bond 
American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor and writer

Colin Powell 
Former United States National Security Advisor and a retired four-star general in the United States Army

Paul Rusesabagina 
Rwandan humanitarian

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 
Activist, feminist, author, scholar, and former Dutch politician

Jason Riley 
American journalist, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board

Morris Dees 
Co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a former market engineer for book publishing