Conversations with greatness: Minority mentorship symposium set for April 9
AUSTIN, Texas -- This year, the 79th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, hosted by University of Texas Athletics (Wednesday-Saturday, April 5-8) will become so much more than a nationally-recognized four-day track and field event attracting 3,800 college, open division and high school competitors from across the USA.
The weekend also will feature "Conversations with Greatness," a first-time Minority Mentorship Symposium which is the brainchild of UT women's track and field/cross country head coach Beverly Kearney. The symposium takes place on Sunday, April 9, and will feature high-profile minority executives and stars from the entertainment and music worlds as well as from the business, college administration and law professions.
This unique event is for all Longhorns student-athletes and will be held at the Hilton Austin Hotel (located at 500 E. 4th St. in downtown Austin).
The Minority Mentorship Symposium follows the four-day Texas Relays spectacle (April 5-8) as the educational and networking event in conjunction with all the competition and social activities at Texas Relays.
The symposium begins with a networking brunch for the presenters, student-athletes, UT Athletics staff and special guests from 10-11 a.m. This will be followed by "Conversations with Greatness" panel discussions and breakout sessions (12:15-2:30 p.m.).
In addition to the presenters (see list, below), the Minority Mentorship Symposium will feature a welcoming address by Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, UT's Vice Provost of the Office of Inclusion & Cross-Cultural Effectiveness, as a special guest speaker. Dr. Vincent began this newly-created position at UT in August of 2005. He is a leading national figure in advancing a richly diverse educational environment for students, faculty and staff alike. Dr. Vincent also is on the UT faculty as a professor in the Department of Educational Administration in the College of Education.
Serving as UT coordinators for the event are Kearney and Texas football staff members Cleve Bryant (Associate AD for Football Operations) and George Wynn (Assistant AD for Football Operations).
"The purpose of this symposium is to bring together a distinguished group of minorities with stellar credentials who have excelled at their given profession and who can provide our student-athletes a look into what it takes to make a successful transition into the corporate world," noted Kearney. "Two of the greatest outlets we have to affect change in our nation are the sporting community and the entertainment industry. I know that our panelists can speak to our student-athletes about the necessary life-skills and tools they will need to be successful in life after college.
"Each speaker has an opportunity to mentor our nation's next generation of role models, and they will talk on a variety of issues -- decision-making, appearance, networking, building relationships -- all the important components of being a success in life," Kearney stated.
The symposium's keynote speaker will be actor Hill Harper. The emcee of the event is James Irby, weekend news anchor at Austin’s Fox TV news station (KTBC TV). The distinguished list of the symposium’s six speakers in addition to Dr. Vincent are listed alphabetically as follows:
Karen Taylor Bass (Founder/President, TaylorMade Media LLC)
Dean Garfield (Executive VP and Chief Strategic Officer, Motion Picture Association of America)
Mister Mann Frisby (writer/reporter, author of "Holler Back" published Dec. 2005)
Hill Harper (film/TV/stage actor)
Amber Noble (Director of Marketing, Island Def Jam Music Group)
Keith Tribble (CEO, FedEx Orange Bowl)
Additionally, the following will join the speakers as panelists at the symposium:
Gregory Anderson (President of Film, Tri Destined Film)
Trey Haley (President and Partner, Tri Destined Studios and Media Enterprises, Inc.)
Kenneth Reeves (Vice President, Radio Shack/former NFL player)
Eurro J. Thomas [Rice] (radio personality/co-star of the Rickey Smiley Show)
Other panelists include: Dr. Myra McDaniel, former Texas Secretary of State and partner in the Austin-based law firm of Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, LLP; Dr. Carolyn Brown, Associate Professor in the UT College of Pharmacy; women’s track alumni and former All-Americans Cynthia Rhodes Patterson (1988-91), Dana Riley (1994-97) and Angie Vaughn (1995-98); Dallas lawyer and UT Law School graduate Berna Rhodes-Ford and her husband, Dallas lawyer Aaron Ford; and Jeff Madden, UT Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning.
"It is my prayer and belief that we all can work together to create another wave of positive role models in our communities, and create an epidemic of faith and hope to change our community, state, and ultimately, our nation. This symposium is another step in that direction," concluded Kearney.
The symposium is made possible by The Sheila Rice Challenge to Excellence Lecture Series Endowment and The Patricia Ruth Cole Endowment for Excellence.
Established in December of 1990 by Austinite Cecil Hale and the late Margie Hale, the Rice Endowment honors Dr. Sheila Rice, the first academic affairs administrator for UT Women’s Athletics who served from 1975-97. The endowment funds events for speakers to address the topics of career, academic and personal excellence.
The Cole Endowment was established in 1997 by Martha Smiley, former UT Regent, to honor the memory of Cole, a long-time supporter of UT Women’s Athletics and The University. The endowment provides funds that enable UT Athletics to better accomplish its mission as a nationally-prominent program.
The annual Texas Relays is the nation's premier outdoor track and field event, and is hosted by Texas Athletics at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on the UT campus.
In conjunction with the Texas Relays, the city of Austin will host the inaugural Urban Music Festival (UMF) on Saturday, April 8 (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) along the banks of Town Lake at Auditorium Shores. UMF will be an all-day, outdoor, family-oriented event featuring live music and social activities, and will provide a unique opportunity to highlight Austin as a viable multicultural and social destination for travelers. R&B legend Chaka Khan will headline the festival, which features a complete line-up of R&B, funk and hip-hop performers.
Annually, more than 40,000 visitors from the state of Texas and the southwestern region of the U.S. flock to Austin during Relays weekend to enjoy both athletic competition and cultural connections.
For information on the Texas Relays and for tickets to the Relays and to the UMF, go to the official site of the 79th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.