John Hope Bryant to speak at Livingstone Friday
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College officials have tapped a speaker who has been cited by the past four U.S. presidents for his work to empower low-wealth communities for its annual fall convocation on Friday.
John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, the country’s first nonprofit social investment banking organization, is the featured speaker at the convocation in Varick Auditorium at 10 a.m. Operation HOPE operates in 51 U.S. communities and South Africa and has raised more than $400 million from the private sector to empower the poor.
Bryant is also co-founder of Global Dignity and has conducted Dignity Day teaching sessions with youth and leaders in Canada, Turkey, India, Switzerland, Finland, South Africa and Jordan. In February, during the worst global economic crisis in recent history, Bryant was chosen to speak at the closing session of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, joining Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Klaus Martin Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland, who instructs at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki, and the Oxford Internet Institute.
Bryant has received more than 400 awards and citations for his work to empower low-income communities, including the “Use Your Life” Award by Oprah Winfrey. He has been named a Community Hero by People Magazine and in 1994 was included in TIME Magazine’s special section on America’s 50 Most Promising Leaders of the Future.
Alumni from throughout the region are expected to attend, as are members of the college’s board of trustees. Members of the class of 2010 will lead the processional of students inside Varick Auditorium, followed by members of this year’s freshman class and other students.
“We are excited to have such an outstanding philanthropic entrepreneur and businessman address our board, faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins.
“I’m sure Mr. Bryant will impart some knowledge that will be inspiration and useful to us all. It should be a banner event at Livingstone, and we invite people to come be a part of it.”