Men of color summit set for Aug. 31

Mississippi State is announcing a daylong conference late this month designed to identify and address the scholastic needs of male students of color at the university and beyond.

Titled "Human Capital: Enhancing the Academic Achievement of Men of Color," the free Aug. 31 event will take place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union's Foster Ballroom and other locations in the building.

Welcoming and opening remarks will be delivered by MSU President Mark E. Keenum; Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president; athletic director Scott Stricklin; and Camille Scales Young, national alumni association president.

Young, vice president with the Jackson office of the national Cornerstone Government Affairs public affairs and lobbying firm, is the first African American and fourth woman to lead the land-grant institution's alumni organization.

Early registration is encouraged and may be completed at

A 10:30-11:30 a.m. session titled "An Overview of Men of Color Data Trends--National and MSU" will hear from Lorenzo L. Esters, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' vice president for access and advancement of public black universities, and Oliver Myers, MSU assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

A Mississippi Delta native, Esters is a graduate of Rust College who also holds master's and doctoral degrees from Jackson State and Morgan State universities, respectively. Myers, who joined the MSU faculty in 2008, holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

At 2:15 p.m., a panel discussion titled "In Their Own Voices" will involve six MSU graduates with a range of career experiences, including moderator Bennie Harris, now vice president for development and alumni relations at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

Other panelists include Anthony Burkes, director for dealer network performance and support services at Atlanta, Ga.-based AGCO Corp.; Michael Haddix of Sewell, N.J., former MSU Bulldog, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers running back; W. Brad Jones, an Oak Ridge Institutes for Science and Education Research Participant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also in Atlanta; Jonathan Lee, president of Mississippi Products Inc. in Jackson; and Alfred "Al" Rankins Jr., associate commissioner for academic and student affairs with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning office, also in Jackson.

Several focus group sessions for undergraduate and graduate students and alumni also will take place during the afternoon portion of the program.

The conference is being co-sponsored by MSU offices of the President, Provost and Executive Vice President, and Diversity and Equity Programs, along with the Division of Student Affairs and Bagley College of Engineering.

In addition to information-sharing and networking opportunities afforded through the event, those attending will have the opportunity to purchase discounted $20 tickets for MSU's season-opening 6 p.m. home football game the following day. The Bulldogs' Sept. 1 clash with the Jackson State Tigers will be carried live on the Fox Sports' FS South channel.

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

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