2015 summit speakers

 Featured Speakers

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey is an Emmy Award winning TV personality, talk show host, actor and comedian.  Mr. Harvey currently serves as host of two popular TV shows which he won Emmy Awards for in 2014. Harvey is an active humanitarian and is involved in several communities across the country as well as national charities. He and his wife, Marjorie, founded The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation in order to provide uplifting and educational opportunities for youth.


Dr. Raul G. Cuero  is Founder, and Research Director of the International Park of Creativity “IPOC”, which main aim is invention and discovery (http://www.parkofcreativity.org/).  In 2013 he was named the Hispanic Scientist of the Year by the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida.  He attributes his creativity to having to overcome social, economic, and environmental challenges.



Dr. Shaun R. Harper is on the faculty in the Graduate School of Education, Africana Studies, and Gender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Professor Harper’s research examines race and gender in education, equity trends and racial climates on college campuses, Black and Latino male student success in high school and higher education, and college student engagement. He is author of over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications.  

D Williams

Dr. Damon A. Williams is the Senior Vice President for Programs, Training, and Youth Development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  a scholar, leader, and educator passionate about making organizations inclusive and excellent for all, creating equitable educational outcomes, and activating learning, youth development, and leadership in ways that are transformative and inspiring of new possibilities.



Dr. Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, where he won the 2010 Robert B. Cox Award for Teaching.   Neal has written and lectured extensively on black popular culture, black masculinity, sexism and homophobia in Black communities, and the history of popular music

Ponjuan New

Dr. Luis Ponjuan is an Associate Professor in Higher Education Administration in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. His research focuses on male students of color academic success and college degree completion, first-generation students’ access into higher education, and the recruitment and retention of faculty members of color.


Dr. Marcus Bright is the Executive Director of Education for a Better America (EBA).  In the past year EBA has launched a series of nationwide initiatives designed to increase the pursuit of post-secondary education, increase civic engagement, prevent school dropouts, increase the pursuit of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers among urban youth, and promote health and wellness across the United States.


Michael Benitez is a leading national social justice educator, and activist-scholar with extensive experience in education and diversity issues. Michael is known for his down-to-earth insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues. Benitez integrates multifaceted pedagogies, scholarly inquiry, and personal narrative to provide multi-context and -issue frameworks for empowerment and transformation. Benitez has served higher education in different capacities for the last fifteen years, including academic affairs, student affairs, diversity and inclusion, and teaching.


William D. Caballero is the subject of a documentary entitled, "American Dream Deferred," which aired on PBS.  "American Dreams Deferred" follows NYU grad student William Caballero, who is juggling family with the challenges of breaking the cycle of issues that has kept relatives from reaching their dreams. He turns the camera on his Puerto Rican-American family to examine U.S. health care and culture, and to explore his and family’s dreams. It begs the ultimate question: who attains their American dream?

Dr. Thornton

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton - President Emeritus of Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland OH;   Top 25 Women in Higher Education in 2013 and awarded 2014 American Association of Community Colleges’ Community College Leadership Award


Orestes Destrade played major league baseball for 15 seasons with the New York Yankees, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Florida Marlins.  Following his baseball career, Destrade has had a very successful career as a broadcaster.  He currently lives in the Tampa Bay area and is entering his 5th season as the co-host of the Tampa Bay Rays Live pre and post- game shows on Fox Sports Florida.

  Preconference Speakers

 Harris web

Dr. Frank Harris III is an associate professor of postsecondary education and co-director of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) at San Diego State University. His research is broadly focused on student development and student success in postsecondary education and explores questions related to the social construction of gender and race on college campuses, college men and masculinities, and racial/ethnic disparities in college student outcomes.  

 Dr. Luke Wood

J. Luke Wood, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Community College Leadership and the Director of the Doctoral Program Concentration in Community College Leadership at San Diego State University (SDSU). Dr. Wood is also Co-Director of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3), Chair of the Multicultural & Multiethnic Education (MME) special interest group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Chair-Elect for the Council on Ethnic Participation (CEP) for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Director of the Center for African American Research and Policy (CAARP). 


Duane O. Reid Jr. is currently the Project Director of The Academic Acceleration for African American Males (4A) Program at Baltimore City Community College. He received his BA degree in History Pre- Law from Columbia Union College in 2001 and his MBA degree from Columbia Union College in 2009.  He went on to receive his M.A. in Public Administration in May 2011 from Washington Adventist University.



Felicia Lorraine Ganther hails from Los Angeles, California. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Norfolk State University in Virginia. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, she is completing course requirements for a Ph. D. in Business Administration. Felicia has previously served in various capacities at both the university and community college levels; currently serving as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for the Maricopa County Community College District. 


Dr. Marco J. Barker serves as the Senior Director for Education, Operations, and Initiatives for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this capacity, he develops innovative and special initiatives aimed at promoting cultural awareness, facilitating access and success for underserved populations, and increasing institutional diversity.


Dr. Michael Odu is a teaching and learning expert and a mathematics educator. A product of the community college, he has served the system for more than 20 years in various academic and student services capacities. He is currently a math professor and the collegewide coordinator of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Hillsborough Community College. He is also the faculty coordinator of the HOPE Scholars Program, a targeted minority student success program designed to improve retention, graduation, and the four-year college transfer rate of African-American and Hispanic males.


Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail is the sixth president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME www.nacme.org). He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining NACME, Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. McPhail also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools.

 Dr. Carley

Dr. Sylvia Marion Carley is the founder and convener of the Black, Brown & College Bound Summit. She retired from Hillsborough Community College as the campus president at the Ybor City Campus. Over the years, she served the college as a faculty member and dean. In her capacity as Vice President of Education & Student Development, she focused on student success, retention, persistence, and graduation. By means of the Summit, she remains dedicated to the mission of serving students in an effort to enhance their academic and social development.