Black Male Summit announces continued AT&T support, speaker lineup


Leaders with The University of Akron’s Black Male Summit expressed appreciation to AT&T for its continued support of the university’s nationally recognized Black Male Summit and also previewed a lineup of nationally-known speakers for the 10th anniversary event in September.

The Black Male Summit serves as a national platform for best practices and innovative strategies as well as leadership and inspiration from prominent experts in African American Male educational achievement. The conference will focus on academic success for African American male students and discuss how to build better pathways to how we recruit, retain and graduate African American males in higher education.

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In presenting AT&T’s $15,000 contribution to support the Black Male Summit, Steve Kristan, external affairs director, AT&T Ohio, said, “Keeping our teenagers in high school and preparing them for success after graduation benefits our students and our communities. The Black Male Summit is an essential event in our community that is helping at-risk youth stay in school and succeed academically. We are proud to support this program.”

Black Male Summit sponsorship

From left: Jolene A. Lane, vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer; State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron); Antoinette East-Jenkins, assistant program director of academic achievement programs; Steve Kristan, external affairs director, AT&T Ohio. Through the years, AT&T has remained a steady partner in support of the university’s nationally recognized Black Male Summit.

“There is no greater investment that any organization can make than in the education of Ohio’s future leaders,” said State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “AT&T’s involvement in the Black Male Summit at The University of Akron is to be commended, as it keeps our youth on track to graduate high school and prepare them to succeed in college and the workforce.”

Speakers announced

Jolene A. Lane, vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer for The University of Akron and co-chair of the Black Male Summit, highlighted the speakers who have committed to participate in the fall’s Black Male Summit, to be held September 29 and 30, 2017.

“This fall, we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary Black Male Summit, and our speakers and presenters will honor this important milestone," Lane said. "Our keynote speaker, Hill Harper, is returning, and he was also a central figure at the very first Black Male Summit." 


Harper Hill, MPA, J.D.

Award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist

Black Male Summit speaker

Lamman Rucker, MEd

Actor, educator, activist, author and entrepreneur


Terrell Strayhorn, Ph.D. – Professor, researcher, edutainer; his research focus is on the factors that enable or inhibit the academic success of underrepresented populations in higher education

Curtis Mack, JD (UA ‘70) – Nationally recognized labor and employment attorney, law professor, author, member of UA National Alumni Board

Luis Ponjuan, Ph.D. – Award-winning professor, researcher, scholarly writer

Brian Heat – Speaker, career educator, trainer

Kimberly Cole, Vice President of Development at UA said, “AT&T’s continued support and generous gifts help make this program possible. This year, we are pleased that the BMS Scholarship Committee will award the Black Male Summit AT&T Legacy Scholarship to a deserving UA sophomore chosen through a rigorous selection process including having maintained a 3.5 grade point average. We thank AT&T and all our corporate partners for their efforts to strengthen diversity here in Akron and beyond.”

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