Scholar, author and CBS drama “CSI: NY” actor Hill Harper will be the keynote speaker at The University of Toledo Office of Excellence’s 25th annual Aspiring Minority Youth Conference Saturday, Jan. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium on Main Campus.
This year’s conference theme is “25 Years Later: Rekindling the Commitment to Education.”
Harper is scheduled to speak around 9:30 a.m. on “The Importance of Education.”
In his first book, Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, he shares life lessons he learned on the road to his Ivy League education and beyond. His second book, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, continues to offer words of encouragement and guidance. Harper is one of the starts of “CSI: NY”; he plays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes. Harper has an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a law degree from Harvard. He often speaks to young people about the measure of success, how to learn from mistakes and the value of education.
“We are excited to be celebrating the 25th annual Aspiring Minority Youth Conference. The goal of the conference is to challenge and motivate students, their parents and educators to rethink the importance of education, where it has taken us so far, how it will improve the human condition, and where it will take us in the future,” said David Young, interim director of the Office of Excellence.
“We hope to encourage and inspire students to be mindful of the importance of education by planning and preparing for professions and careers. Students should be considering talents, skills and interests when choosing professional careers and also become civic-minded, proactive members of their communities.”
After the general session featuring Harper, there will be a session for parents and educators where they will learn tools to help students consider how individual skills and interests can be channeled effectively in order to achieve their goals and hear ways to develop the skills needed to guide young people in their career choices.
A concurrent session will run for students featuring Harper and a Toledo Excel alumni panel designed to motivate students to make plans, become active in the community, and take charge of their futures.
Toledo Excel was established in 1988 to help groups of students under-represented in higher education, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, for success in college. Through services such as summer institutes, academic retreat weekends, campus visits and guidance through the admission process, students increase their self-esteem, cultural awareness and civic involvement.
The Office of Excellence is a hub of academic programs, activities and services that reaches students in the eighth grade through high school graduation and beyond. These programs include Toledo Excel, Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the Aspiring Minority Youth Conference.
Harper will be available for a book signing following the program.
The conference is free and open to the public; call 419.530.3820 to make a reservation.