In the late 1960s, a lack of resource centers and organizations at the UW led a small group of Black students to gather informally at the Rathskeller to play cards, share experiences, and build connections. Their bonds grew, and the Black and Bold Badgers (BABB) were born. Core members organized a reunion in 1996, and they continued to meet biennially until the pandemic. When a cherished member — Gwynette McDonald ’68 — died in August 2020, the BABB group, led by Yolanda Jenkins ’67, contributed to create a fund in her honor. The Gwynette McDonald Legacy Fund supports students of color in the Mercile J. Lee Scholars Program, recognizing the ongoing struggles Black students have on campus.
“It was a way to pay it forward for the lifetime friendships that we formed,” explains Jenkins. “Giving something back to the university is a way to honor people who became your friends.”