Claflin University to Host Sixth Annual Black Male Symposium on April 22 in W.V. Middleton Auditorium

Apr 15, 2016
Claflin University will host the Sixth Annual Black Male Symposium on Friday, April 22, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the W. Vernon Middleton Auditorium.  Promoting and Preserving our Legacy: Building the Next Generation of Leaders is the theme for this year’s event.  The Black Male Symposium is an annual event designed to provide practical strategies and techniques that enhance the economic, educational and spiritual empowerment of Black males. The symposium invites male students attending high schools and colleges from across the state of South Carolina to hear renowned speakers and participate in vigorous discussions that will prepare them for transformative leadership in their respective communities.

“The symposium will provide a forum to discuss critical issues impacting Black males and explore solutions that will improve educational outcomes and retention,” said Devin Randolph, chair of the Black Male Symposium Committee and assistant vice president for student development and services/director of residential life at Claflin.  “Our goal is simple – we want to empower and motivate Black males to recognize the importance of the role they play in all sequential levels of education and society.”

Keynote speaker for this year’s symposium is Stephen Powell, chief program officer of the National CARES Mentoring Movement founded by Essence Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Susan L. Taylor.   Plenary sessions will feature Dr. Alex O. Ellis, an award-winning author, speaker and activist; Aaron Paxton Arnold, an entrepreneur, lifestyle expert and founder of MusicIsMyBusiness; and LaKendric Williams ‘13, a Claflin honors graduate and a business management analyst at the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

As chief program officer for the National CARES Mentoring Movement, Powell leads program expansion, partnership development and training and technical assistance efforts across the globe.  He is an alumnus of Howard University and the Institute for the Not-for-Profit Management Program at Columbia University's Graduate Business School.  Powell previously served as the executive director of Mentoring USA. He also worked in program development and management for several non-profits including Providence Hospital/Family and Child Services of Washington, DC; Anthony Bowen YMCA; Metropolitan DC Police Boys and Girls Club; and the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). Powell’s commentary on leadership, organizational strategy and mentoring can be found in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, the Costco Connection and other national publications.

Ellis has been featured on CNN, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, The 700 Club, BET, and the Steve Harvey Morning Show. A New Jersey native, Ellis earned his bachelor’s degree at North Carolina A&T State University and his master’s and doctorate degrees from New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

Arnold is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Florida A&M University. In 2008, he was recognized by CNN during the “Young People Who Rock” segment.  He is also CEO of one of "America's Smartest New Companies Led by People Under 30," as selected by Inc. Magazine. Arnold has contributed articles and commentary to Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., CNN and MSNBC. In 2012, Arnold was named “One of 125 Top Alumni” in the 125-year history of Florida A&M University.  In 2015, he was recognized as a "Distinguished Man of Color" for Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Modern Man Series.”

Williams earned the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2013 at Claflin University. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology at Rust College, a historically black college located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. While attending Claflin, Williams earned a $10,000 UNCF/NASCAR Scholarship.  He received several other awards and honors at Claflin including his selection as a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellow for two consecutive years. In January of 2016, Williams began his career at Northrop Grumman Corporation – a Fortune 500 Company and a global leader in the aerospace and defense technology industry.

For more information or to register, visit or contact Devin Randolph (803-535-5301/
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