Minority Mentorship Symposium inspires gathered crowd
April 2, 2010
The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays weekend always brings a special atmosphere to Austin. The competition on the track is equaled by the camaraderie off it.
Four years ago, Texas Women's Track and Field coach Beverly Kearney initiated the Minority Mentorship Symposium as an event that personifies the spirit of the weekend.
On Friday night, Kearney hosted Intimate Conversations with Greatness at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the UT campus. The occasion brought together "Divine Divas" and "Gents of Distinction" in a setting that motivates, and also illustrates to college-age students models of success.
People from all walks of life addressed the gathered crowd of hundreds. Community figures, corporate moguls and entertainers all took to the stage to share their message.
"These people are all defined by their ability to serve," Kearney said. "They are all inspired to give."
UT president Bill Powers, former state representative Wilhelmia Delco, Texas Football strength coach Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden and 1968 Olympic medalist Dr. John Carlos were just a few of the featured speakers. All came from different backgrounds, but spoke to a central theme - education and the constant evolution of self.
"Obstacles and challenges are part of life's journey," Kearney said. "When you fail, you succeed, if you learn from life's process."
Chan, a former rapper who worked with the likes of Snoop Dogg, spoke about her triumph over difficulty. She said she endured deception in the music industry, so she sought out the solace of her family and taught herself to sew. Now, she designs clothes for celebrities and is moving forward in the fashion industry.
"Don't quit," Chan said. "Don't be afraid to tell your story." UT student-athletes filled the audience, and many sports were represented. Football's Eddie Jones and Sam Acho were particularly moved by the event.
"It makes you think beyond just yourself," said Acho, who was attending his second symposium. "It's important to listen, and learn from these individuals. It's also important to do something with the lesson."
Powers helped conclude the evening, and credited Kearney for founding such a treasured event.
"Nobody is more inspirational than she is," Powers said.