History | Troy University


In 2002, Troy University launched the first Leadership Conference to kickoff Black History Month. The idea for the conference was birthed through Trustee Lamar P. Higgins and was implemented through the Troy University Leadership Institute. Dr. Shirley Woodie, Director of the Institute at that time, formed a small committee to help coordinate the first conference. The committee hoped to have 30 registrations for the conference. Forty-two individuals registered for the first conference and the community response was tremendous. As the conference grew, the City of Troy became key to the success and provided resources and support and became a Co-Sponsor of the event. An advisory committee made up of University staff and faculty; representatives from the City of Troy; elected officials from Troy and Pike County; and community and business leaders are appointed to help plan the annual event. Summer of 2020 the conference committee voted to rename the conference to the Congressman John Lewis Leadership Conference to honor the memory of the Troy native. The conference could not be a success without the support of many to include the Troy University Leadership Institute, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, Troy University Foundation, The City of Troy, Wal-Mart and Bishop S. D. James.

Chelsea Blunt receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 
Alexis Garrett receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 
Taylor Holt receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 
Jermaine Van Buren receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 
Herman Johnson, Jr. receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 
Mavis Awuku receiving student award from Barbara Patterson 


  • 2021 - Dr. Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson
  • 2020 - Dr. Mary Frances Berry and Mrs. Peggy Wallace Kennedy
  • 2019 -  Dr. Raphael Warnock and Dr. Quinton Ross
  • 2018 – Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Terri Sewell 
  • 2017 - Rickey Smiley and Bishop James Davis
  • 2016 – Juanita Jones Abernathy and Jasmine Guy
  • 2015 – Hill Harper and U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Fernandez "Frank" Ponds
  • 2014 – Rev. Bernice King and Judge Penny Brown Reynolds
  • 2013 – Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and Sheri Riley
  • 2012 – Dr. Randal Pinkett and Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock
  • 2011 – Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie and Dr. Calvin Mackie
  • 2010 – Ms. Lyn Vaughn and Mr. Tim Reid
  • 2009 – Judge Greg Mathis and Former Ambassador Andrew Young
  • 2008 – Dr. Richard Arrington and Ms. Cynthia Tucker
  • 2007 – Dr. Joseph Lowery and Dr. Belle Wheelan
  • 2006 – Dr. Ronald Myers and Rev. Jamal Bryant
  • 2005 – Rep. Lois DeBerry and Dr. Tonea Stewart
  • 2004 – Atty. Thomas N. Todd and Mr. Aubrey Miller
  • 2003 – Dr. Patricia Russell-McCloud and Dr. Yvonne Kennedy
  • 2002 – Rev. Michael Thurman and Judge Wilson Barnes


Advisory Committee Chairs:

  • 2021 – Mrs. Mary Griffin
  • 2020 - Mr. John Parker
  • 2019  Ms. Shelia Jackson
  • 2018 – Bishop S. D. James
  • 2017 - Mr. Derrick Brewster
  • 2016 – Mr. Charlie (Sarge) Dunn
  • 2015 – Mr. Mark Griffin
  • 2014 – Ms. Barbara Patterson
  • 2013 – Mrs. Wanda Moultry
  • 2012 – Mr. Homer Wright
  • 2011 – Mr. Lamar P. Higgins
  • 2010 – Ms. Catherine Jordan
  • 2009 – Dr. Robin Bynum
  • 2008 – Mr. John Parker
  • 2007 – Mr. Shelia Jackson
  • 2006 – Ms. Shelia Jackson
  • 2005 – Ms. Mary Griffin
  • 2004 – Ms. Eleanor Lee
  • 2003 – Mrs. Shelia Jackson and Bishop S.D. James
  • 2002 – Leadership Institute
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