‘Our Voices’ diversity conference upcoming this month at MSU

Contact: James Carskadon

Our Voices - Diversity Conference Logo

STARKVILLE, Miss.—With a theme of “Our Voices,” Mississippi State’s 2017 Diversity Conference will take place Jan. 26 and 27 at The Mill at MSU Conference Center.

Organized by the university President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities, the event explores continuing avenues for embracing and expanding diversity in higher education.

Jeff Johnson, an award-winning investigative journalist, social activist, political commentator and author, will be keynote speaker. His 11:30 a.m. presentation on the 26th is titled “Our Voices: Who Will Lead the Next Social Movement?”

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Johnson is managing principal for Maryland-based JIJ Communications whose major client list includes Google, Oppenheimer Funds and the City of Cleveland, among others.

Johnson also regularly provides commentary and analysis on race, politics and pop culture and socio-economics for news broadcasts and publications. He is a contributor on the MSNBC Network and serves as White House correspondent for the Grio website. For more biographical information, visit www.jeffsnation.com.

The MSU conference is open to all. A complete schedule and other information is available at www.voices.msstate.edu.

Registration is $25 per person for MSU students; $99 for faculty and staff and others.

“We really wanted the focus of this year’s conference to be aimed toward the higher education community and having meaningful dialogue on how to use our voices to champion diversity in higher education, as well as examining diversity in a broad scope,” said Ra’Sheda Forbes, MSU’s interim assistant vice president of multicultural affairs and director of the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Lakiesha Williams, chair of the President’s Commission, will welcome participants on the first day. Later, the opening panel discussion will feature administrators from MSU, Alcorn State University, University of Mississippi and the UM Medical Center, and University of Southern Mississippi.

Williams said representatives from colleges and universities across Mississippi and the Southeast are expected to attend.

“The conference will include interactive sessions on diversity and inclusion, as well as engaging dialogue between students, faculty, staff and administrators,” the associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering added.

Nissan is a platinum-level sponsor for the event, while Workplace Answers is a gold-level sponsor. MSU’s Institute for Computational Research in Engineering and Science and Office of Student Support Services, as well as International Paper are silver sponsors.

Bronze sponsors include the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Architecture, Art and Design; Education; Business; and Forest Resources; along with the School of Human Sciences; College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology; offices of the Vice President of Alumni and Development, and Student Leadership and Community Engagement, Maroon and Write; and BancorpSouth.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.