Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access

Clemson University Men of Color National Summit announces keynote speaker line-up and new programming additions for 2020 event


CLEMSON, South Carolina – On March 3-4, 2020, the fourth annual Clemson University Men of Color National Summit will take place in Greenville, S.C. at the Greenville Convention Center with an impressive lineup of nationally recognized speakers including leaders in government, academia, sports, entertainment and business. The fourth annual Summit has announced the speaker line-up along with new opportunities for participants to create clearer pathways to college.

The speakers for the 2020 Summit include:

  • Alberto Gonzales, J.D. – The 80th attorney general of the United States, Gonzales was the first and only Hispanic to hold this high-ranking federal position. Prior to that appointment he was commissioned as White House counsel to President George W. Bush. Gonzales served as White House consultant to President Barack Obama and is now serving as the dean and Doyle Rogers Distinguished Professor of Law at Belmont University College of Law.
  • ‘Akbar Gbajabiamila – Gbajabiamila is the host of NBC’s four-time Emmy-nominated series “American Ninja Warrior”, “American Ninja Warrior Junior” and the NFL Network’s highest-rated show, “NFL Fantasy Live.” He played for five years in the NFL as a linebacker and defensive end with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins before retiring in 2008.
  • Jim Murren – Murren is chairman and CEO of global entertainment company MGM Resorts International. Previously, Murren spent a decade on Wall Street as a leading analyst in the hotel and gaming industries. Under Murren’s leadership, MGM has been a leader in corporate diversity efforts and has been recognized as a Top Company for Diversity by DiversityInc for 13 consecutive years.
  • Johnathan Holifield, J.D. – Johnathan Holifield is executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Holifield oversees federal efforts to strengthen the capacity and competitiveness of HBCUs.
  • Chancellor Robert Johnson, Ph.D. – Johnson is the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a national research university that is part of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system. Johnson’s 30-year leadership career spans nonprofit colleges and universities in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • Peter Villegas – Villegas is vice president and head of the Office of Latin Affairs for The Coca-Cola Company where he serves as a national spokesman for the company. Villegas is also a member of The Coca-Cola North America Executive Leadership Team.

Participants will not only get to hear phenomenal speakers at the Summit but also an internationally acclaimed opera singer. Tenor Victor Robertson will perform during the lunch session on the first day of the Summit. Robertson of “Three Mo’ Tenors” recently made his Broadway debut in “Phantom of the Opera.”

Along with the speaker and entertainment line-up, the Division of Inclusion and Equity announced two new additions to the Summit this year. Because of the educational opportunities available to participants, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in Diversity and Inclusion from Clemson’s Center for Corporate Learning will be offered to professionals who are attending both days of the Summit.

The Summit will also serve as the kick-off for a new chief diversity officer (CDO) advisory board to Clemson’s Division of Inclusion of Equity. The advisory board will provide an opportunity for students to connect with chief diversity officers from Walmart, Duke Energy, Southwest Airlines, TD Bank, Turner Construction, Yum! Brands and UPS. The board will hold their first meeting at the 2020 Men of Color National Summit and event sponsors will have an opportunity to join a roundtable with members.

“Every year we work to make the Men of Color National Summit better than the previous one by creating more opportunities for our students and participants,” said Lee Gill, chief inclusion officer and special assistant to the president on inclusion and equity at Clemson University. “Both our keynote and breakout speakers provide a wealth of knowledge to participants so we’re especially excited about offering CEUs this year and our new advisory board is a reflection of the commitment being made nationwide to closing the opportunity gap.”

Registration for the 2020 Men of Color National Summit is now open. Because hotels are expected to be filling up faster than usual due to other events in the area, participants are encouraged to book lodging as soon as possible. A list of hotels offering accommodation during the Summit is available here.

Clemson University Division of Inclusion and Equity
The Division of Inclusion and Equity is comprised of multiple departments and commissions with initiatives and programs designed to fulfill the goals, objectives and obligations outlined in the ClemsonForward strategic plan to ensure a diverse community that welcomes people of different races, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientation, religions, socioeconomic levels, political perspectives, abilities, opinions, values and experiences.

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