Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit bringing “Magic” to its fourth year

For four years, Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit has brought an impressive line-up of speakers to the energetic two-day event hosted by its Division of Inclusion and Equity. Leaders from the business, government, athletic and academic worlds have spoken to students about their potential and pathways to success.

In 2020, the Summit will add an NBA legend to their list of speakers when Earvin “Magic” Johnson speaks to students at the Summit and brings his inspiring story of athletic and entrepreneurial success to Greenville Convention Center in Greenville, S.C.

With a mission to close the opportunity gap for African American and Hispanic males and develop clearer pathways to college for students, Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit will feature Johnson along with an all-star line-up of keynote and breakout speakers on March 3-4, 2020.

Thanks to a partnership with the Denny’s Corporation, Johnson will address high school students in attendance, including members of Clemson University’s college readiness program, the Tiger Alliance.

“The caliber of speakers at the Summit is something we have been proud of every year, not only are they inspirational examples for the students in attendance, but they embody the leaders we know our students can and will be,” said Lee Gill, chief inclusion officer and special assistant to the president for inclusion and equity at Clemson University. “Our keynote and breakout speakers are testaments of what happens when the opportunity gap is overcome, and organizations commit themselves to diversity and inclusion.”

Johnson joins keynote speakers and entertainment including:

  • Alberto Gonzales, 82nd
    United States attorney general
  • Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International
  • Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Host, American Ninja Warrior and former NFL football player
  • Robert E. Johnson, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Jonathan Holifield, Executive director, White House Initiative on HBCUs Domestic Policy Council
  • Peter Villegas, Vice president and head, Office of Latin Affairs, Coca-Cola
  • Victor Robertson, Three Mo’ Tenors

Speakers will have the opportunity to connect with students from all over the country including Tiger Alliance students. The heart of the Summit, the Tiger Alliance students are a part of a college readiness experience that includes relationships with mentors, college visits, college-prep workshops and attendance at the Men of Color Summit. The Tiger Alliance program kicked off at the Summit in 2017 and has already seen what is possible when African American and Latino students are empowered and engaged in their education. Seniors from the 2019 Tiger Alliance cohort had a 98% graduation rate.

The Summit will also serve as the kick-off for a new chief diversity officer (CDO) advisory board to Clemson’s Division of Inclusion and Equity. The advisory board will provide an opportunity for students to connect with chief diversity officers from Walmart, Duke Energy, Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, 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 exclusive opportunity to join a roundtable with members.

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.

“We’re always looking for new ways to create bridges for our students,” said Julio Hernández, chief of staff for Clemson University’s Division of Inclusion and Equity. “The new Corporate CDO advisory board will not only provide insight for Clemson University but provide connections to a network of nationally-recognized organizations that can provide leadership opportunities to our students.”

The Men of Color National Summit is presented by Clemson University and the Division of Inclusion and Equity. It also is supported by businesses, organizations and community leaders.

More information on the Men of Color National Summit can be found at and Clemson’s Facebook, @ClemsonUniv Twitter and Snapchat accounts will include updates throughout the Summit.

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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