News Release: Valdosta State University
VALDOSTA – Valdosta State University’s yearlong celebration of 50 years of integration will culminate with “Celebrating 50 Years,” featuring award-winning actor, bestselling author and activist Hill Harper. The event will be held in the Student Union Ballroom Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
"It's very important to us because we are celebrating the first two African American students who basically paved the way for all students and diversity effots on our campus. Whether faculty, staff, students, and alumni who have all had equal opportunity to be a part of the Valdosta State Community," said William Jimmerson, VSU SGA President.
During the event, Harper will speak on the importance of education and building a solid foundation for life.
“For 50 years VSU has been committed to providing access to higher education for all students,” said Dr. Maggie Viverette, director of the Office of Social Equity and chair of the 50 Years of Integration committee. “Mr. Harper will provide guidance to current and future students on the best ways to use the tools that a postsecondary degree allows a college graduate. We are incredibly excited to hear his insight and look forward to his visit.”
Harper is known for his role on the hit drama CSI: New York, which has earned him two NAACP Image Awards. He is the author of The New York Times’ 2006 bestseller Letters to a Young Brother, which explores issues that young black men face and serves to provide guidance and encouragement. His companion book, Letters to a Young Sister, engages young women and is also a Times bestseller. Harper is also the author of The Conversation and his recently released book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother.
Harper holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University as well as a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a juris doctor from Harvard Law School. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate from Westfield State College.
The event will also include highlights from Valdosta State’s yearlong celebration of 50 years of integration and recognize key sponsors of the newly established Thomas/Pierce Scholarship Fund.
VSU kicked off “50 Years of Integration: A Celebration of Inclusion,” a commemoration of integration and its historical impact and how it has shaped the university, on Sept. 18, 2013.
“The committee members have been working tirelessly to create a calendar of events that reflect the significance of the celebration, honor the bravery of the pioneers and engage the current VSU community to discuss paths for future progress,” said Viverette. “Just as the changes that occurred on the campus 50 years ago impacted the faculty, staff and students it is the hope of the committee that the schedule of events will engage and impact the subgroups of today’s campus community.”
The Office of Communications has established a “50 Years of Integration: A Celebration of Inclusion” website as well as a Facebook page that highlights the yearlong celebration and provides stories on Valdosta State’s pioneers, photographs, and updates on events associated with the commemoration. Visit the website at www.valdosta.edu/integration and follow on Facebook at VSU50.
For more information about the “Celebrating 50 Years,” contact the Office of Social Equity at (229) 333-5463. For more information on the speaker, please visit www.apbspeakers.com.