Well-known media legends such as Tom Joyner, Tavis Smiley, John Quiñones and Desmond Howard will visit the Upstate in April as part of a Clemson-sponsored initiative.
Clemson is launching a major initiative to foster a more inclusive, supportive, and diverse South Carolina. On April 27-28, 2017, Clemson’s Office of Inclusion and Equity will present its inaugural Men of Color National Summit to help close the achievement gap for young men of color with the promise of new opportunities through higher education. The goal of the summit is to attract and retain a highly talented and diverse group of students, faculty, and staff at the University, and especially to open up educational and career opportunities for young men of color, most of whom will be first-generation college students who often face an unusually challenging path to higher education. The result of this challenge is an “achievement gap” — lower high school graduation rates compared with other demographic groups, leading to reduced economic and personal prospects.
The summit emphasizes two critical messages: “Stay focused,” and “Never give up.” More than 1,600 college students, government officials, community activists, educators, and industry leaders are expected to attend. Joining them will be a special cohort of 400 African-American and Hispanic male 9th-11th graders from South Carolina that Clemson intends to help prepare to become college-ready high school graduates, regardless of what institution they choose to attend. During the two-day summit, attendees will hear insights from more than 20 national thought leaders on personal and professional development, from cradle to career success. Additionally, the nationally syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” with 8 million listeners across 105 markets, will broadcast live from the summit.
The 2017 inaugural summit also kicks off Clemson’s “Tiger Alliance” program. Partnering with Greenville County Schools’ Superintendent Burke Royster, Anderson District 5’s Superintendent Tom Wilson, and schools from the I-95 corridor, Clemson University will mentor the 400-member cohort through a revolving, multi-year initiative. The young men will receive guidance and enrichment opportunities to make them college-ready, and their progress will be tracked from the summit through high school graduation.
“Clemson is committed to creating best practices for inclusive excellence, and the Men of Color National Summit reinforces that commitment by preparing these young men to succeed in college, whether at Clemson or anywhere that fits their goals,” said Clemson President Jim Clements. “This summit is just one part of Clemson’s long-term vision to prepare a broader mix of students for college and future career success.”
“The heart of the summit is the young men in the Tiger Alliance,” said Lee Gill, Clemson University’s Chief Diversity Officer and special assistant to the president for inclusive excellence. “The global perspective that a college education provides will not just help them excel in life, but will also contribute to the talent dividend that benefits the State of South Carolina and the nation.”
The Men of Color National Summit, open to everyone and committed to the success of all, will be held at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, S.C. on April 27-28, 2017. More information, including event registration and sponsorship, can be found at www.clemson.edu/inclusion/summit.