October 3, 2013

Next Texas A&M ’50 Years Of Inclusion’ Program Featuring Aggie Trailblazers Set For Oct. 16

The “50 Years of Inclusion” celebration at Texas A&M University continues with its second “hallmark event” Oct. 16, a presentation titled, “Pioneers in a Journey Toward Inclusion” featuring a panel discussion by four former students, all of whom were Aggie trailblazers in their own ways.

The program is part of a semester-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of women being formally admitted to the institution and enrollment of the first African-American students. The overall observance is themed “Reflecting, Engaging and Envisioning: Celebrating 50 Years of Inclusion at Texas A&M University.”

The panel presentation is set for 5 p.m. in Room 2406 of the Memorial Student Center and is open to the public free of charge.

Sunny Nash

Sunny Nash

The session will be moderated by Sunny Nash, a 1977 Texas A&M graduate and one of the first African-American women to earn a degree from the university. She went on to become a successful author, photographer and producer. In addition to heading the four-person panel, she is expected to reflect on her own journey at Texas A&M and beyond.

Other panelists are Samuel B. Williams II ’68, one of the first African-American students to enroll as a freshman in the Corps of Cadets, who currently works with the Caring Aggie Mentorship Program in Houston; Daniel Hernandez ’73, the first Hispanic to serve in several key university and Texas A&M University System administrative positions and a founding member of three Hispanic-focused organizations related to Texas A&M; and Carri Baker Wells ’84, one of the first “Diamond Darlings” selected to assist the Aggie baseball team and now a well-known political leader in San Antonio and current chair of the “Go Red” campaign for the American Heart Association in San Antonio. She also helped lead the effort to get The Zone at Kyle Field completed.

Each member of the panel is expected to share personal stories and then engage in a discussion concerning the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The semester-long program kicked off Sept. 10 with the first of several hallmark events, an address by the first African-American woman astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison, who is a physician, scientist and entrepreneur. The hallmark events will conclude with a “Day of Engagement” program on Nov. 13, featuring two notable speakers recognized for their active and inclusive engagement in their communities and around the world.

“Day of Engagement” program speakers include Julian Bond, currently a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at American University and best known as an American social activist and leader in the civil rights movement and Ernie Cortés, Jr. ’62, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) co-chair and executive director of the West/Southwest IAF regional network and a nationally-recognized community organizer, social advocate, and political activist.

A precursor to the third hallmark event is a program titled, “Turning Difficult Dialogues into Constructive Communication.” The program, featuring Maura Cullen, considered one of the foremost authorities on issues of diversity and leadership, is set for Nov. 12.

For more information about the semester-long inclusion program, go to the inclusion website or contact fiftyyearsofinclusion@tamu.edu.

Media Contact:  Sherylon Carroll, News & Information Services, at (979) 862-2369

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