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News Archive (Spring 2010)      

Lane College to Host TVA Board Meeting

For the first time in its 77-year history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will convene its June public board meeting at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Lane College will host the TVA board of Directors, officers, utility company officials, and members of the public at the meeting on June 10, 2010 in the Chambers-McClure Academic Center (CMAC) which is located on Lane Avenue in the heart of the campus. The public may comment on any agenda item or subject at a public listening session which begins at 8:30 a.m. Immediately following the end of the public listening session, the meeting will be called to order to consider the Boards agenda items. The entire meeting will be broadcast live by Jackson Energy Authority’s E-Plus TV6 on cable channel 6.

According to a statement issued by Lane President Wesley Cornelious McClure, “We are absolutely thrilled, honored, and humbled that a powerful and globally-recognized conglomerate like TVA has chosen Lane College as the venue to do its important work in establishing policy that enables its officers to provide affordable energy, needed resources, and economic development throughout the TVA region. This is an honor that reflects well on every person who has been associated with Lane College throughout our 128 years of existence.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federal corporation and the nation’s largest public power company. As a regional development agency, TVA supplies reliable, competitively priced power, supports a thriving river system, and stimulates sustainable economic development in the public interest. TVA operates fossil-fuel, nuclear, and hydropower plants, and also produces energy from renewable sources. It manages the nation’s fifth-largest river system to reduce flood damage, produce power, maintain navigation, provide recreational opportunities, and protect water quality in the 41,000-square-mile watershed.

TVA was established by the U.S. Congress in 1933. By providing wholesale power to 157 municipal and cooperative power distributors, and by directly serving 58 large industries and government installations in the Valley, TVA supplies the electricity needs of approximately nine million people located on 80,000 square miles in the southeastern United States, including almost all of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. TVA also serves the nation and the world by finding new and better ways to use our natural resources while protecting the environment. It produces revenues of over nine billion dollars per year.

TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA’s service territory are below the national average.

Magazine Legend to Speak at Lane

Lane College will conduct its Summer Graduation Ceremonies on Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. in the J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education Building located on the college campus. Fifty-eight young men and women will be awarded baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences. Prominent author, former magazine editor, and activist, Susan L. Taylor, will deliver the commencement address.

Taylor is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built—as its fashion and beauty editor, editor-in-chief and editorial director. For 27 years, she authored of one of the magazine’s most popular columns, In the Spirit. As the driving force behind one of the most celebrated Black-owned businesses for nearly three decades, Susan Taylor is a legend in the magazine publishing world.She was the first and only African-American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award—the industry’s highest honor—and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership.

A fourth-generation entrepreneur, Taylor grew up in Harlem…working with her father in his women’s clothing store. She founded her own cosmetics company, a first for Black women, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence. She is the author of four books: In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor; Lessons in Living; Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives, which she coauthored with her husband, Khephra Burns; and her most recent, All About Love, Favorite Selections from In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly. She is a much sought-after speaker, inspiring hope and encouraging her audiences to reclaim their lives and create sustainable communities.

She is an avid supporter of a host of organizations dedicated to moving the Black community forward; but her passion and focus today is the National CARES Mentoring Movement, a call to action, which she founded in 2006 as Essence Cares. The National CARES Mentoring Movement is a massive campaign to recruit one million able adults to help secure children who are in peril and losing ground. “Not on our watch!” she says. “Our children are the mothers and fathers of our tomorrows, and their future is in our hands.” The goals of the CARES Movement are to increase high school graduation rates among African American students, and end the violence in Black communities and the over-incarceration of our young. “Creating safe, top-tier schools in every underserved community in this nation is the mandate—and it’s doable,” Taylor says.

Taylor is a co-founder of Future PAC, the first national political action committee devoted to providing a network of support and sources of funding for progressive African American women seeking federal and state-level political offices. She is co-chair, with actor Danny Glover, of Shared Interest, a capital campaign to raise money to build housing and encourage entrepreneurship in the rural areas of South Africa, and serves on the boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Girl Scouts of the USA. She has worked passionately to help restore the lives of people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region who were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Taylor has received more than a dozen honorary degrees from numerous colleges and universities, including Lincoln University, Spelman College, Dillard University, Bennett College for Women, the University of Delaware, and her alma mater, Fordham University.

Family, friends cheer on Lane graduates

Tracie Simer

Anyone driving by Oman Arena on Sunday afternoon might have wondered if there was a sporting event or concert in progress. Instead, the shouts and cheers came from the proud supporters of Lane College's class of 2010.

About 208 students received their bachelor's degrees in areas such as music, business, mass communication and criminal justice. The speaker was Benjamin Franklin Payton, president of Tuskegee University in Alabama.

During the ceremony, Lane President Wesley McClure told the students to remember this day and Payton, their commencement speaker.

"Remember him," he said. "Your children will study about him in textbooks. Your grandchildren will study about him. When you're asked 'Grandma, what was he like?' You'll just nod and say 'Hallelujah, child.'"

McClure said he's heard Payton speak many times and was honored he came to Jackson to speak at Lane's graduation ceremony.

"You speak from the heart and have done so for 18 years and on," he said. "You are awesome in every sense of the word."

Just outside the arena, Mike Leigh was in search of a graduation program. He was there to support a student he taught years ago in the sixth grade in Brownsville.

"He worked hard and finished school," he said. "He graduated from high school, went to college and then he had to quit. He got a job and worked hard enough to then go back to college. Now here he is. I'm very proud of him."

Once he had a program in hand, he searched the names of the graduates until he found his student. Then a smile spread across his face.

"Look at that," he said. "I just found out he's graduating cum laude today."

Lane presented diplomas to the class of 1940, 1950 and 1960 alumni who were in the arena Sunday. Bishop William Graves, chair of the Lane College Board of Trustees, offered the invocation and welcome.

As Vice President of Academic Affairs Lester Newman invited the graduates to stand to receive their degrees, Oman Arena filled with cheers of pride and happiness of friends and family.

Graduate Candice Austin's family traveled from Memphis to support her Sunday. Toward the end of the ceremony, family member Rickie Gary staked out a spot where they were told the graduates would file out afterward, so they could grab her first.

"We are truly proud of her," he said. "She's the first member of our family to graduate from Lane. And we look forward to attending her graduation from Georgia State in two years."

He had one simple piece of advice for Austin: "Always strive for excellence."

Leigh also had some things he hoped to tell his former sixth-grade student.

"He's got a family now," he said. "I want to encourage him to continue what he's doing - to pursue the dreams he's had and not give up. I also want to let him know I'm there for him."

Lane Students Receive High Honor

Ms. Na’eemah Webb and Mr. Jonathan Freeman, two of Lane College’s high-achieving rising juniors, have been selected as 2010 UNCF/Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows (UNCF/MMUF). The fundamental objective of the MMUF Program is to increase the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue PhDs in core fields in the arts and sciences. This program aims to reduce over time the historic under-representation on faculties of individuals from certain minority groups (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans) as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities. The program serves the related goals of structuring campus environments so that they will be more conducive to improved racial and ethnic relations, and of providing role models for all youth. The Program aims to achieve its mission by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction.

Ms. Webb is a native of Los Angeles majoring in English. She has a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Mr. Freeman hails from Greenville, MS and is a History major. His grade point average is 3.860.

Ms. Webb and Mr. Freeman will each receive the following benefits: (1) an Academic Year Stipend—during the junior and senior years, fellows will engage in supervised research with their faculty mentors. For this activity, fellows will receive a stipend of $3,000 per academic year. The purpose of the stipend is to facilitate the fellow’s research activity by relieving the need to undertake other work responsibilities; (2) Summer Stipends—during the summers of the junior and senior years, fellows will receive up to $3,000 for supervised research. From June 1-June 30, 2010, each fellow will attend the summer institute at Emory University in Atlanta and participate in Race and the Academy, the annual summer institute sponsored by the United Negro College Fund, the Mellon Foundation, and Emory’s Department of African American Studies; (3) Loan ForgivenessM—fellows are eligible for up to $10,000 for the repayment of undergraduate loans, provided they pursue graduate study in a Mellon field or discipline. For each of the first four years of full-time graduate study, the Mellon Foundation, through fellows’ undergraduate institutions, will repay one-eighth (up to $1,250) of the fellows’ undergraduate debts. Thus, if fellows pursue full-time graduate study for four years, they will receive $5,000 in loan repayments. When fellows complete the doctorate, they will qualify for an additional $5,000.

Bolivar Sophomore Crowned Miss Lane

Asia Ellison of Bolivar, Tennessee was crowned Miss Lane College on Feb. 28 at the Miss Lane College Pageant. The Inter-disciplinary Studies major sang Because of Who You Are for her talent in the pageant.

Ellison’s aspiration after Lane is to acquire her Master’s degree and become a teacher. The lovely new Miss Lane is the daughter of Ms. Gretchen Ellison.

Members of her court include 1st runner-up Velvet Gunn of Chicago, and 2nd runner-up Jasmine Goodman of Brownsville, Tennessee. Other winners were Tiara Wilkins in the talent category and Velvet Gunn, Ms. Congeniality.

Founder's Day Convocation

The guest speaker for the College's 128th Annual Founder's Day Convocation, to be held on Sunday, March 7, is the renowned Senior Bishop and CEO of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, and Chair of the Lane College Board of Trustees, the Honorable William Henry Graves, Sr. The Convocation services will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the William H. Graves Auditorium located in the Chambers-McClure Academic Center (CMAC) on campus.

The role of Bishop Graves as a representative of Christian Methodism began early in his ministry. As a College student at Lane, he was elected the President of the National Youth Conference; and, as a preacher in full connection, represented the denomination in the World Council of Churches in India; and in the World Methodist Conference on several occasions in London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Honolulu, Hawaii. For two General Conferences, he served as the Chair of the Committee on Episcopacy.

Throughout his ministry, he has been actively involved in the social and political issues of the community. Among several organizations, Bishop Graves is a former director of Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, and a past national director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also is the past President of the Board of Directors of the National Congress of Black Churches and Chair of the Department of Finance of the CME Church. In addition to his duties as the senior bishop of the CME Church, he is the presiding prelate over the First Episcopal District, with headquarters and residence in Memphis.

In 2006, Bishop Graves was nominated by President George W. Bush to fill an unexpired term as the ninth and final seat on the revamped and expanded Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He breezed through the confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee as the first African-American nominated for a seat on the TVA Board. Subsequently, Bishop Graves was confirmed by the entire Senate, and later in 2007, he was elected to his own full term as a director. He remains as the only African-American seated on the TVA Board of Directors. As a Board member, Bishop Graves offers his service to the 8.6 million people in the valley throughout the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia by making life better, improving the communities, and supporting the families as they live and work in concert with nature.

The public is cordially invited and encouraged to attend the celebration of Lane College's tremendous contributions to this community and this nation.

Bishop E. Lynn Brown has been named as the guest speaker for the eighteenth annual Jennie E. Lane Lecture Series, to be held on Friday, March 5 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chambers-McClure Academic Center (CMAC). Bishop Brown is the Presiding Prelate of the Second Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church headquartered in Cincinnati, which includes the Ohio-Central Indiana and Kentucky Regions.

Bishop E. Lynn Brown was born in Madison County, Tennessee, the third son of the late Willie T. and Ocie Bell Brown. He received his elementary and secondary education in the public schools of Madison County, Tennessee; the Bachelor of Arts degree from Lane College; the Master of Divinity degree from Phillips School of Theology at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, where he was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. His doctoral studies were done at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Several honorary degrees have been conferred upon him from the following institutions: D. D., Lane College, Texas College, Miles College and Phillips School of Theology at ITC. He has taught at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, lectured extensively; and has earned an international reputation as a world traveler (throughout Africa, Europe and Israel), a dynamic preacher, and a forceful speaker. He also has authored several books, some of which includes: Salvation Is of The Lord, The Pastor as an Enabling and Equipping Disciple, and Conception Of Sin In Thought of Reinhold Neibuhr.

He was elected the 46th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1986 in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon his election as a bishop, he was assigned to the Ninth Episcopal District, which encompassed the California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska Regions. Prior to his elevation to the office of bishop, he was General Secretary of the Board of Publication Services of the CME Church. He distinguished himself as a most effective pastor at the Temple of Love CME Church in Memphis, Tennessee, which he started in the CME Publishing House. Bishop Brown was also a prominent pastor of Mt. Pisgah CME Church in Memphis, where he developed a model urban ministry for the entire community.

Bishop Brown has served in many positions in the CME Church, as well as in the community. He is the past Chair of the CME Lay Ministry, past Chair of the Department of Evangelism, Social Justice and Human Concerns, among many other positions. He is the Chair of the Department of Publication Services, a member of the Board of Trustees of Phillips School of Theology; a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Chair of Closing the Health Gap of Greater Cincinnati, Chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition---City of Cincinnati, Chair of the Clergy Advisory Health Council, and a member of the Electoral Reform Commission---City of Cincinnati. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

The hallmark of the entire ministry of Bishop Brown has been his community activism. He has received hundreds of awards, plaques, commendations, trophies, and citations for his outstanding contributions toward improving the life of his fellow citizens.

Bishop Brown is married to Gladys Delores (Stephens) Brown, and is the father of the late Rev. Alonzo Victor Brown and Cheronda Brown Guyton. He is the grandfather of Kyrhee Sjamont (KJ) Brown, Alonzo Edward (AJ) Brown, Stephen Andrew Guyton and Sean Matthew Guyton.

New Vice President for Academic Affairs

President McClure has announced the appointment of Dr. Lester Newman as the new Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective immediately. He replaces Dr. Vicki Vernon Lott.

Prior to his employment at Lane, Newman served as President of Mississippi Valley State University; Vice President for Academic Affairs at Johnson C. Smith University and Shelby State Community College (now Southwest Community College), respectively; and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Kentucky State University.

Newman holds a doctorate in Political Science from Atlanta University and has served in higher education for 33 years.

Lane Names Burroughs as New Head Football Coach

Former All-Pro NFL cornerback Derrick Burroughs has been named Lane College's next Head Football coach.

Burroughs was introduced to the media today at a 3 p.m. press conference in the J.K. Daniels Conference Center on campus. He replaces former Head Coach Trent Boykin.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Burroughs grew up knowing that playing professional football was something that he always wanted to do. After graduating from high school, he earned a football scholarship to Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) where he made 1st Team All-Conference, and was voted the Defensive Player of the Year.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, he was selected to the 1985 Blue-Gray All-Star Team where he was voted the game’s defensive Most Valuable Player. In that same year, Burroughs went on to be selected to the Senior Bowl and he was the 14th overall player taken in the 1st round by the Buffalo Bills.

Burroughs retired from professional football after a solid five-year career due to a serious neck injury, but says he still plays through the younger players that he coaches. He has spent 14 years coaching football with NFL Europe, Arena, and the XFL football leagues. He most recently was a defensive backs coach and administrative assistant for the New York Sentinels of the newly created United Football League.

TVA president speaks at Lane about leadership and morality

Tom Kilgore is the president and chief executive officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority. But he did not come to Lane College on Wednesday to spread a message of monumental power usage that in recent months has surpassed state records. He came to warn students that their education will mean nothing if they are not grounded in the meaning of the first four words of the Bible.

Kilgore focused his lessons of future achievement under the theme of "Leadership and Morality" by focusing on those four words as he spoke to around 1,000 students, faculty, business people and local leaders in the college's J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education building.

"In the beginning, God," Kilgore said. Using the first word of the Bible, Kilgore challenged students and others to review if they were moving their careers and personal lives forward by reviewing their relationships with people and groups.

"What are you involved in?" he asked. "Are you in your studies? Are you in the right place? Are you in the right groups? Your parents want you to be in college, not at college. Are you in trouble?"

An Alabama native, Kilgore became the TVA's president in October 2006. His duties include managing power production, resource management and economic development programs, according to the authority's Web site. He is also head of the authority's business council.

Concentrating on the word "the," Kilgore asked his audience if they knew what the one thing was they needed to be doing with their lives.

"Paul said, 'This one thing I do,'" Kilgore said, "not 'These things I dabble in.' What is the purpose of your life?" But to have answers to questions surrounding the Bible's first two words means nothing without practicing the third, he said.

"Beginning," he said. "The start. Some of us get started on time, some of us a little late. Some never get started at all to fulfilling the potential God has provided for them."

Still, Kilgore added, even beginning in the proper direction means nothing if one does not remember the Bible's fourth word: "God." "We cannot have a moral compass unless there is a rock," Kilgore said. "The Rock of Ages. You have to have your foundation right."

The Tennessee Valley Authority was established by Congress in 1933. It is a federal corporation and the nation's largest public power company, providing power to more than 150 municipal and cooperative power distributors.

President McClure said Kilgore was a great friend to him and to Lane, and he praised Kilgore for giving his time to spread God's word and help students find their own directions.

"There came a moment in the life of Tom Kilgore," McClure said, "where it came to his mind to bring a message to a college called Lane, and that is the highest tribute that anyone can receive."

Lane student makes study abroad dream reality

Lane College junior Heidi Walker's quest to study abroad started as an idea that she nurtured into fruition.

The 20-year-old business major had not considered studying in another country until she overheard her colleagues talking about their experiences during her internship with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Boston during the summer of 2008. When she returned to Lane's campus in the fall, she learned about a program offered through the American Institute for Foreign Study.

Although Lane College doesn't offer its own study abroad program, Cedric Deadmon, director of career planning and placement services, said students are encouraged to seek study abroad and internship opportunities.

"Lane is going to support any student with the desire to better themselves," he said. "She's the first student I've known to have studied abroad, but I've been told there have been others."

Initially, Walker had hoped to land a spot in China, but she opted for London, where she had the opportunity to have an internship as well as study. Her application process included submission of her transcripts, resume and essay as well as completing several additional questions to apply for an internship.

She completed the application process last March and received her acceptance letter last April. Her excitement was abated slightly when she saw the bill for her trip - $16,000.

"I had the dream, the desire to study abroad, but it wasn't financially feasible for me," Walker said.

She sought out scholarships to help pay for her stay in London.

"The institute had a $1,000 scholarship that I applied for, but I didn't get it," Walker said. "I thought, 'I have to find a way to pay for this.'"

Walker applied for the institute's diversity scholarship, which awards nearly half of the costs, a roundtrip flight and a three-day trip to Paris.

"I really didn't think I would get it," said Walker, her eyes welling up with tears. "I was competing against every other student in the country for it." When Walker learned that she was awarded the 19th annual diversity scholarship, she remembers screaming on the telephone. Thanks to the scholarship, she was on her way to paying the $16,000.

Walker said it took persistence and patience during the fundraising period.

"You've got to stay persistent because the money aspect doesn't happen overnight," she said.

Walker also received financial support from Lane College, AT&T and her family.

"Lane College was really supportive," she said. "I wouldn't have been able to go without everybody playing a part."

Walker was in London during the fall semester last year. While she was there, she worked as an intern at E! Entertainment Television's London office and studied British contemporary culture at Richmond University. She worked at E! Monday through Thursday and was in class on Fridays.

"I already knew the E! product," Walker said. "I was in a daze the whole time I was there because I was so happy to be there."

While at E!, her major assignment was to create a report to illustrate the number of page views for the E! Web site. Her work was included in a sales presentation to be used in France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

"It took me a month to complete it," Walker said.

She plans to continue to expand her resume with a few more experiences before completing her studies in December. She hopes to become a marketing executive for a major business or pharmaceutical company.

"I'm a creative person, and I like exchanging ideas," Walker said. "I'm serious about what I want to do with my life, and I hope to keep gaining experiences that show future employers that."

This month, Walker submitted an application to the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Selected students learn about diplomacy in the United States and study abroad the following year.

"Now that I've started (traveling) abroad," Walker said. "I want to keep going."

Celebrating an Abiding Legacy

The founder of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis urged a crowd at Lane College to carry the inner spirit to fight injustice that continues today.

Civil rights activist D'Army Bailey said Martin Luther King Jr. was a warrior for justice to mankind and gave the ultimate sacrifice by paying with his life.

Bailey, an attorney, author and retired circuit judge, spoke Wednesday during Lane's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration.

Bailey spoke about the history of the civil rights movement influenced by people such as King, Emmett Till, Rosa Parks and The Little Rock Nine.

"We come from a rich history that went well on before that," Bailey said. "They didn't know they would be the instruments to spark the conscience of white America and black America for change."

Bailey also discussed his new book, "The Education of a Black Radical," which details the civil rights movement while he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., in the 1960s. Bailey and other college students across the country were kicked out of school because of their stances.

"We made a decision as college students that more important than going to class was putting to the test those constitutional promises," he said.

The long struggle for equality must be put into perspective as it continues today, Bailey said. The walls of segregation were broken only 40 years ago, though the first black slaves were brought to the nation centuries earlier, he said.

Even when black people were able to get equal jobs, the wealth of the nation was already distributed mostly to corporations, he said.

"Don't look at this history as being ancient," he said. "We're still feeling the aftershocks today."

Most people remember King from his "I Have a Dream" speech, Bailey said.

But by the time of his death in 1968, King had said instead of moving one step at a time with peaceful protests, there needed to be a fundamental overhaul of the process, Bailey said.

Lane College President Wesley McClure said Bailey's strength could be seen in his ability to "not surrender to any person's view that you are less than the man you are.

"At no point in your life, Judge Bailey, have you allowed yourself to be a victim, because you found the will and faith to do the little things," McClure said to Bailey following his speech.

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