friday, MARCH 24TH, 2017 | 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | INN at Virginia Tech

This year’s conference will focus on empowering Black men through stories of persistence from several dynamic Virginia Tech alumni while giving non- black males insight into the lives of Black males. The conference will feature multiple breakout session’s targeted on helping faculty/ staff support Black male students. Breakout session topics will range from  student- athlete development to student spiritual development. The success of this conference will depend on the participation and engagement of the Virginia Tech community as well as guests from our region. ALL are invited to participate at NO COST. 

Keynote: Irving Peddrew


Our keynote speaker is Irving Peddrew III, the first African American student to attend Virginia Tech and the first to attend any historically all-white four-year public institution in the 11 former states of the Confederacy. Mr. Peddrew III received an honorary degree at Virginia Tech on May 13. Matthew Winston Jr., senior associate vice president for alumni relations explained “Irving Peddrew displayed enormous courage as he navigated the many difficult obstacles he faced attending a historically all-white institution. He became a catalyst and a pioneer for desegregation, laying the groundwork for the enrollment of generations of African-American students at Virginia Tech. He placed our university on a path to fulfill its true potential to become an inclusive institution for all.”

virgil wood.jpg

Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood

Dr. Virgil A. Wood, church leader, educator, and civil rights activist, has committed much of his life's work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation's disadvantaged.

Educated at Virginia Union University and Andover Newton Theological School, he holds a doctorate from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Ordained as a Baptist minister in his late teens, Wood has served churches in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia. During his pastorate in Lynchburg, Virginia, he became actively involved in the civil rights movement, and served with Martin Luther King, Jr., as member of the National Executive Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and coordinated the state of Virginia for the historic march to Washington, on April 28, 1963. 

Wood has combined his dual career in church leadership and education with a lifelong commitment to community development, as economic and spiritual transformation. Dr. Wood is currently the pastor of the Pond Street Baptist Church, which he has served since 1983 (and also from 1955 to 1958). He previously served in higher education as administrator and teacher.


 Kenneth Cooke

Kenneth Cooke


Richmond, Virginia native Kenneth Cooke is a Vice President in the Finance Division of Goldman Sachs, in New York, NY. He is the leader of the Global Derivative Disclosures Team.

Kenneth was the 25th Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (“NABA”). Kenneth has been a member of NABA for 24 years and hails from the Richmond, VA Chapter. He also is a current member of the Virginia Tech Accounting & Advisory Board, where he serves on the curriculum committee focusing on ensuring the school’s accounting program remains as one of the top curricula among universities.

Mr. Cooke’s educational background includes an undergraduate major in Accounting from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (“Virginia Tech”).

 Everette Taylor

Everette Taylor


Everette Taylor will will speak about his journey from being homeless to becoming a successful entrepreneur and marketing genius in the tech industry. Everette has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Inc Magazine, and Black Enterprise among others. Everette is a four-time entrepreneur and currently Chief Marketing Officer for Skurt, a mobility company that delivers affordable cars on-demand. He also serves as CEO of his marketing firm MilliSense, CEO of his social media software company GrowthPup, and co-founder of popular website and software company GrowthHackers.


Beyond that, he serves as the National Brand Ambassador for NASA's Startup Initiative helping aspiring entrepreneurs commercialize NASA technology and an advisor to We Are Onyx - a beauty box subscription service for women of color. 





'President Talk’, hosted by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands, will feature Virginia Tech alum and West Virginia State President Anthony Jenkins and President Brian Hemphill of Radford University. 

Dr. Brian hemphill

President Brian Hemphill (Radford University)

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., Radford University’s seventh president is an unwavering champion for positive change and a true advocate of shared governance. President Hemphill’s road to Radford University has taken him from the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, a flagship university, where he served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students; to Northern Illinois University, a large, public, research university, where he served as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Associate Professor for eight years; to West Virginia State University, a public, land-grant, research university, where he served as the tenth President and Professor for four years. President Hemphill is a published author with a multitude of writings covering topics related to gun violence and threat preparedness on college campuses; emerging financial concerns affecting the collegiate sphere; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and economic-related issues pertaining to education; and a myriad of additional scholarly perspectives pertinent to the higher education environment. 

  President Anthony Jenkins (West Virginia State)

President Anthony Jenkins (West Virginia State)

DR. Anthony Jenkins

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D., West Virginia State University’s 11th President is an established higher education leader committed to advocating for students and creating opportunity to higher education for all students, especially culturally under-represented groups.
Born in Washington D.C., and raised between our nation’s capital and North Carolina, Jenkins is a vocal proponent for education and public policy issues. He has fostered meaningful dialogue within the national higher education community. His research, speeches and publications focus on crisis management, enrollment and retention, diversity, African-American male initiatives, first-generation college student success, state funding for higher education, mentoring and high-risk college campus behavior such as alcohol consumption and sexual misconduct.
Jenkins began his path to West Virginia State University as a United States Army veteran and first-generation college graduate of Fayetteville State University. He earned a master’s of science from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate from Virginia Tech University.
Prior to leading the State family, Jenkins served as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and, most recently, as the Senior Associate Vice President for the University of Central Florida – the nation’s second largest university. His career includes serving at Jackson State University, thereafter joining Virginia Tech’s Housing and Residence Life and later the Office of the Dean of Students. He remained at Virginia Tech until becoming the Assistant Dean of Students at Northeastern Illinois University. Jenkins is a Life-member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.