Kearney's dream to inspire comes true with Minority Mentorship Symposium
March 30, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Officially, this is just the fourth installment of Beverly Kearney's Minority Mentorship Symposium, but the mentoring part has been going on for quite awhile.
After all, Kearney is now in her 18th season as Texas Women's Track and Field head coach, and during a tenure that has brought UT six national championships, Kearney has become known for her ability to teach and nurture.
And those two special qualities are ultimately the driving forces behind Kearney's symposium, an event that aims to educate and inspire minority students and student-athletes as they prepare to transition into the corporate world.
"It's about motivating young people to be successful," Kearney said. "It's not about being African American or Hispanic or anything like that. The message is about becoming the best you can be."
This year, a "Divine Divas" and "Gents of Distinction" dinner will be the precursor to the symposium and networking session. Kearney historically brings in featured speakers who have triumphed over obstacles to achieve success.
Last year, retired professional boxer Leland Hardy was one of the symposium's speakers, and he reiterated to the audience the need for knowledge and success outside of competition. Hardy served as the best example, as he is now fluent in five languages, is an accomplished entrepreneur and has masterminded a successful Web site.
Olympic and UT swimmer Dave Walters was moved by the message.
"It really opened my eyes. I feel it broadened my horizons," Walters said. "I have to look beyond swimming. You have to think about the world, and this really made me think about ways to give back to it."
This was part of Kearney's dream from the very beginning.
"This is for students of all races and all ages to connect with people from the entertainment industry all the way to the political arena," Kearney said.
While the weekend is centered around Friday night's symposium, Kearney has added a variety of community service events. Kearney wants everyone involved to learn the importance of giving back. This year's weekend will feature stops at the Dell Children's Hospital, SafePlace and a Child Protection Services program called PAL which helps older youth in substitutive care transition into independent living. The three-day occasion kicks off Thursday, April 1 with a pep rally featuring U.S. Track and Field Association's "Win with Integrity" program and the Neighborhood Longhorns.
"Win with Integrity" is an initiative aimed at education youth, parents, educators and coaches about the positive results from leading a physically active, drug-free lifestyle while living with integrity.
"People can understand that success is blind in terms of race, color and religion. It's about being willing to do what it takes to maximize your opportunity," Kearney said.