TROY—A barrier-breaking former mayor of Birmingham and a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer will serve as the featured speakers for the Seventh Annual Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month presented by Troy University and the City of Troy.
The conference is scheduled for Feb. 1-2 in the Trojan Center on the Troy University Campus. Richard Arrington, the first African-American mayor of Birmingham, will open the conference with the keynote address Friday, Feb. 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Trojan Center Theatre. Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a syndicated opinion columnist, will serve as the luncheon speaker to close the conference on Saturday, Feb. 2, beginning at 11:45 a.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms.
“This conference gives us a tremendous opportunity to provide members of the community and Troy University students with information to enhance their leadership skills,” said John Parker, Downtown Branch Manager for Troy Bank and Trust and chair of the conference planning committee. “Each year we get more and more people to attend and I believe we’re having a positive effect on the community.”
Parker said the influence of the conference is reaching beyond Pike County’s border.
“Last year the President of Alabama A&M University attended our conference and was so impressed that he took it back with him to Huntsville to start a conference modeled after ours,” Parker said. “We would like for more communities to attend and consider starting leadership conferences of their own.”
This year’s conference, “Cultural Diversity and Leadership Opportunities,” will also feature three plenary sessions entitled “Cultural Diversity: Issue of Health and Wellness,” “Cultural Diversity and Banking: Implications for Financial Planning” and “Cultural Diversity: Strategies for Personal and Community Safety.” Last year’s conference drew almost 300 participants. Cost of the conference is $30, but Parker said university students are only required to pay $10. The Saturday, Feb. 2 session begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Trojan Center Lobby.
Dr. Arrington, the conference keynoter, made history in 1979 with his election as Mayor of Birmingham and was re-elected four times, retiring in 1999 before the end of his fifth term. He served as a professor and administrator at his alma mater, Miles College in Birmingham, before running for mayor. A native of Livingston, Dr. Arrington earned his master’s degree from the University of Detroit and his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
Ms. Tucker, a native of Monroeville, won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. Her column “As I See It” is syndicated to more than 70 newspaper nationwide by Universal Press Syndicate. She is a graduate of Auburn University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University for the 1988-89 academic year. In 2000, Tucker won the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award. In 2006, the National Association of Black Journalists selected her at its Journalist of the Year. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 and again in 2006.