Improving the odds for black male success


The subject matter is controversial: "I Am My Brother’s Keeper: Identity Construction in Recruiting/Retaining Black Males in Higher Education;" "Beating the Odds Without Using Your Fist;" "The Gifted Black Male in STEM: They Do Exist;" "A First Generation College Student’s Survival Kit;" "The New ‘N’ Word – Networking;" and "Are Black Fraternities Still Relevant?"  
But historically, controversy, honesty and relevancy have made The University of Akron’s Black Male Summit the place to be, with more than 1,400 attendees expected April 11 and 12.
The seventh annual Summit begins Friday, April 11, at 11:30 a.m. at the John S. Knight Center with an opening address from entertainer and comedian Steve Harvey, one of several distinguished personalities scheduled to speak throughout the weekend, including diversity scholar Terrell Strayhorn, filmmaker Janks Morton, and Touré, co-host of "The Cycle" on MSNBC.
Prior to the Summit, community leaders will gather in the Akron Public Library Auditorium from 9:30 to 11 a.m. for a Pre-Black Male Summit Community Dialogue Forum to address the question, “How can community institutions rally to support black male success?”
Introduced by Michael Bender, president of Walmart West, and moderated by Russ Mitchell, WKYC-TV lead anchor, panelists include:

  • David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans;
  • Jim Tressel, executive vice president for student success at The University of Akron;
  • Fred Wright, president of the Akron Urban League;
  • David James, superintendent of the Akron Public Schools; and
  • Trabian Shorters, former vice president of the Knight Foundation and founder of BMe.

 The two-day event — free to UA students, faculty and staff — is open to the public for $50, and to students of other schools for $25. The Pre-Black Male Summit is free and open to the public.
The deadline for registration is April 4. For the full schedule of events, information on transportation and lodging, and to register, visit the Black Male Summit online.

Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or

Matthew Crowder

Steve Harvey