Though originally created as an informal forum for teaching, inspiring and mentoring student-athletes, Beverly Kearney’s Minority Mentorship Symposium has blossomed into a weekend of events that attracts powerful personalities from across the nation.
Entering its sixth year, the symposium is now a focal point of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, drawing professional athletes, high-profile minority executives and stars from the sports, music, political and corporate industries.
Kearney, now in her 20th season as Texas Women’s Track and Field head coach, hosts the Minority Mentorship Symposium: Intimate Conversations with Greatness on Friday night at the AT&T Executive Education Center on the university campus.
Even with the growing spotlight of attention, Kearney’s intention remains unchanged. It is a platform to inform and inspire students as they transition into the corporate world.
And Kearney’s personalized lesson of persistence applies to all walks of life.
“We want every single individual to have that extraordinary moment,” Kearney says. “If I can touch, see and feel greatness I have a better chance to be affected for greatness. We just want to encourage to do the best you can in everything you do.”
While Friday night’s symposium and awards ceremony remains the centerpiece, Kearney has expanded the program with a variety of community service events to enrich area youth.
On Friday afternoon, the second annual Pursuit of Excellence Youth Rally for more than 2,500 Austin Independent School District students will be staged at Gregory Gym. These students all earned the visit to campus through after-school, community service initiatives with the university’s Neighborhood Longhorns Program. In addition to experiencing the action at the track, the children also are exposed to the university setting.
Imagine a “pep rally for education.”
“It’s to get them fired up,” Kearney said. “All these kids are already putting in the extra effort. They need to keep it up, and we’re encouraging them to do so. It’s about bridging the gap between community.”
New for 2012 is the Jody Conradt Leadership Conference at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Tenth and 11th grade girls will attend two afternoon panels.
“What we wanted to do was have a mixture of what success looks like,” Kearney said. “The other will focus on image and how to brand yourself for success.”
Through exposure to individuals who have achieved excellence, be it personal or professional, Kearney hopes to cultivate a hard-working, goal-oriented culture for the younger generation.
“The theme is the pursuit of excellence,” Kearney said. “Too much now we are rewarding kids ‘just because.’ The pursuit of excellence that drove us as a country to become successful and innovative pioneers shouldn’t be compromised but restored.”
Sixth annual Minority Mentorship Symposium
Intimate Conversations with Greatness: Creating a Legacy of Success
Friday, March 30
AT&T Executive Education Center/The University of Texas at Austin
Celebrity guest presenters and honorees*
- Ledisi: Grammy-nominated recording artist
- Meagan Good: Actress
- Hope Andrade: Texas Secretary of State
- Anthony Hemingway: Director of “Red Tails”
- MC Lyte: Grammy-winning hip hop artist
- India Arie: Grammy-winning artist
- LeToya Luckett: Grammy-winning artist, actress
- Michelle Williams: Grammy-winning artist, formerly of Destiny’s Child
- Aaron Ross: Former Longhorn and current safety for New York Giants
- Keshia Knight Pulliam: Actress
- Malinda Williams: Actress
- Ray Chew: Music director for ‘American Idol’
- Bun B: Hip hop artist, producer
- Kenny Lattimore: Grammy-winning artist
- Sonja Norwood: Manager
- Barbara Conrad: World-renowned opera singer
- Lance Gross: ‘House of Payne’ actor
- Jeremy Reid: Officer in U.S. Armed Services
- Sharon Heyward: Manager
- Eric Draper: Former head of White House photography
- Johnnie Johnson: CEO and former NFL great
- Dr. Duperval Brownlee: Medical doctor
- Tony Gaskins: Motivational speaker, mentor
- Senator Royce West: Member, Texas Senate, District 23
This story originally appeared on TexasSports.com.
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