UK Happenings

UK to Host Men of Color Symposium Feb. 6

photo of UK Men of Color Symposium graphic
Among the first of its kind in the state, the Men of Color Symposium will take place 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at the UK Gatton Student Center.

Jan. 29, 2020 UPDATE: Registration for this symposium is now full.​

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2020) — In two weeks, the University of Kentucky Martin Luther King (MLK) Center, in collaboration with the UK Office for Institutional Diversity and the Office of Student and Academic Life, will host the first Men of Color Symposium. The symposium will take place 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at the UK Gatton Student Center.

This free, one-day event aims to promote self-awareness, unity, academic motivation and the importance of men of color in leadership positions.

"I believe this is an amazing opportunity to bring people together all across the Commonwealth to build community and talk about how to better support men of color through all walks of life," said Ja'Mahl McDaniel, associate director of the MLK Center. "We are excited to have renowned speakers and experts to share time with our UK and larger campus community."

Sonja-Feist Price, UK's vice president for institutional diversity, says this event lives out the ideals of Lyman T. Johnson, who fought for diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly for those whose voices were either silenced or ignored. UK is currently commemorating Johnson and 70 years of integration on campus this academic year.

"The fact that we have an opportunity to discuss issues and solutions relevant to the success of men of color is extremely important to our campus community and the state of Kentucky," Feist-Price said. "Both professionally and personally, this symposium is near and dear to my heart, and I am beyond excited about the ways in which this symposium will lead to practical and actionable initiatives, not only on our campus but campuses throughout the Commonwealth. I salute Jason Brooks, Ja'Mahl McDaniel and the entire team at the MLK Center for hosting what is sure to be a transformative event, which is among the first of its kind in our state."

The symposium is open to students and professionals across Kentucky. While free of charge, seating is limited and registration is required.

The theme of the conference is "Building a Pipeline: College, Career, & Community," offering sessions that will allow participants to engage in personal, career and community development. Workshops will offer applicable and practical information, and networking opportunities will be available with renowned leaders from the university and beyond, including:

  • award-winning speaker, author and entrepreneur DeAndre Carter, who will give the opening ceremony presentation;
  • hip-hop artist David "Olmeca" Barragan, who will give a performance during lunch;
  • James Moore, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Ohio State University, who will provide the closing ceremony keynote; and
  • Roger Cleveland, professor at Kentucky State University, who will also provide a closing keynote.

For more information about the symposium, visit

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.