Award-winning actor, Navy admiral headline annual Leadership Conference at Troy University

Posted: Tuesday, 03 February 2015

TROY - An award-winning actor and a Navy admiral will headline the annual Leadership Conference Celebrating African American History Month at Troy University on Feb. 6-7.

Hill Harper, best known for his award-winning portrayal of "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes" on the hit CBS drama "CSI: NY" and as "Calder Michaels" on USA Network's spy drama "Covert Affairs," will provide the conference's opening address at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 6, in Sartain Hall on the Troy Campus. Also a bestselling author, Harper's credits include the award-winning "Letters to a Young Brother," and the New York Times bestseller "Letters to a Young Sister."

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Ponds, a native of Autaugaville who serves as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, will provide the keynote address at the Conference's closing luncheon, beginning at noon on Feb. 7, in the Trojan Center Ballrooms.

The conference, co-hosted by the University and the City of Troy, seeks to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration and equip diverse leaders with the tools to better serve their organizations and communities. The theme of this year's conference is "A Century of Achievement: A Salute to African American History and Culture."

"The Leadership Conference is held to promote unity by offering a venue that generates dialogue on topics instrumental to building positive relationships that will enhance diverse community engagement," said Mark Griffin, who chairs the Conference's advisory board.

In addition to the keynote addresses, plenary sessions for both adults and students will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 7. Presenting the adult sessions are Sheyann Webb-Christburg, a Civil Rights activist from Montgomery who will present "Remembering Selma to Montgomery;" Patricia Barnes, founder of Sister Schubert, who will present "Overcoming Road Blocks and Speed Bumps while on the Pathway to Success;" and Dr. Carl Cunningham, Jr., director of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of South Alabama, who will present "Continuing Legacy of African American Achievement."

Dr. Cunningham will also present the same topic during the student sessions and will be joined by presenters Mitch Steed, founder of Physiques by SUSO of Troy, who will present "Health and Wellness: It's a Lifestyle" and Dr. Jasmine Younge, founder and chief operating officer of Havah-Younge, Inc. of Atlanta, who will present "The New Culture of Rising African American Leaders."

For registration information or to learn more, visit