Reflecting upon the accomplishments of AASU, founding member A. Leroy Willis (MBA '69) said, "We had our own organization with our own identity which provided in essence, leadership training for us while we were here on campus . . . . The thing that I'm most proud of is the fact that each succeeding class has carried on this tradition."25 Beginning in 1972, AASU has organized annual career/alumni conferences that have fueled an exchange of ideas among African American students, business executives, and HBS alumni. Participants over the years have spoken on topics of leadership, finance, and community. Today, the mission of AASU continues to uphold the core mandate inspired by its founders: "to foster an environment for AASU members to develop strong personal and professional relationships with the black community within and outside of HBS, engage the broader HBS community, excel academically, and make a positive impact on the community."26
AASU conference speakers have included Lillian Lincoln Lambert (MBA '69), an AASU co–founder, and her mentor, H. Naylor Fitzhugh (MBA '33). Fitzhugh also helped establish the Black Alumni Association of HBS (now the Harvard Business School African–American Alumni Association), a networking organization for applicants to HBS, current students, and alumni.
In 1979, Walter L. Ross (MBA '73), president of the Black Alumni Association, presented former HBS Dean George P. Baker (pictured with his wife Ruth Baker) with the Distinguished Service Award. Baker was honored for his work in recruiting African American students and creating fellowship programs to increase diversity at HBS.