Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access

Clemson University announces fifth annual Men of Color National Summit speaker line up, programmatic enhancements and live broadcast on Rickey Smiley Morning Show


Clemson University will host its 5th annual Men of Color National Summit on November 4-5, 2021 with a lineup of national thought leaders for both keynote and breakout speaker sessions and multiple programmatic enhancements. The nationally syndicated Ricky Smiley Morning Show, which has 3.6 million listeners tune in from across the country, will broadcast live onsite during the summit.

Centered around creating pathways to higher education for African American and Latino high school young men, the summit themes focus on career and professional development; entrepreneurship; masculinity and personal identity; retention rates, graduation and student achievement; and social and community engagement.

“We are very proud to celebrate the fifth year of Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit. Clemson is leading the way to help to close the opportunity gap for young men of color as the summit has grown to be one of the top conferences in the country to help illuminate pathways to higher education,” said Lee Gill, J.D., Clemson’s chief diversity officer and special assistant to the president. “Having the Rickey Smiley Morning Show sharing the stories of the impact the summit makes on our young men, our University and South Carolina as a whole to a national audience is incredibly powerful.”

Confirmed speakers for the 2021 summit are:

  • Jeffrey J. Brown, president and CEO, Ally Financial
  • Michael Eric Dyson, professor, Vanderbilt University; author and radio host
  • Derrick Gragg, senior vice president of inclusion, education and community engagement, NCAA
  • José Hernández – NASA Engineer and former Space Shuttle mission STS-128 astronaut
  • Ann Herrman-Nedhi, chair of the board and chief thought leader, Herrmann; author
  • Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League
  • Victor Saenz, Department chair and professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Texas, Austin; founder of Project MALES
  • Bakari Sellers, attorney, SC state representative, author
  • Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Rick Wade, senior vice president, strategic alliances and outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Multiple programmatic enhancements include:

  • Sisters Pre-Summit Roundtable, a full-day event on Wednesday for young women in high school, college and graduate school, as well as young professionals who are interested in pursuing STEM in academia and in the workforce. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, one of the key scientists behind the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, and Vanessa E. Wyche, deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center are confirmed speakers.
  • Graduate student STEM track for HBCU’s and community colleges, in addition to existing tracts for academic and business professionals, and undergraduate and high school students.
  • A special sponsor-only Clemson University Corporate Chief Diversity Officer Advisory Board roundtable where members will share their best practices.

Clemson will announce updates to the Summit’s packed agenda with keynote and breakout speakers, exhibitors and networking sessions in the future.

Registration to attend the summit is now open. For more information, visit

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