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Hill Harper brings fame to VSU


Written by: John Stephen

Award-winning actor and bestselling author Hill Harper will be visiting VSU on Feb. 25 to deliver the keynote address during the final event of the “50 Years of Integration” celebration.

Harper is best known for his role as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the TV drama “CSI: New York.” Harper, who holds degrees from prestigious schools such as Brown University, Harvard University and Harvard Law School, will speak on the value of education and the importance of building a strong foundation for life, according to a press release by VSU’s Office of Social Equity (OSE).

Tickets for the semi-formal event that begins at 7 p.m. are $15 for VSU students, $25 for non-students, and available for purchase until Feb. 11 either at the OSE or from the website www.valdosta.edu/integration.

Harper, a classmate of President Obama’s at Harvard Law School, is an accomplished motivational speaker who frequently visits schools across the country, providing youth and young adults with guidance and support pertaining to education, career goals and life in general. He has been awarded numerous NAACP Image Awards for his acting work and has published several popular self-help books.

The event featuring Harper, which is officially titled “Celebrating 50 Years,” marks the end of the yearlong proceedings commemorating a half-century of racial integration at VSU.

The event will also recognize notable sponsors of the newly-established Thomas/Pierce Scholarship Fund, which is named after the first pioneers of integration at VSU and is intended for first-generation college students.

Malynda Dorsey, director of the OSE and chair of the “50 Years of Integration” committee, hopes that the events celebrating integration will have a positive effect on the students at VSU.

“Just as the changes that occurred on the campus 50 years ago impacted the faculty, staff and students, it is the hope of the committee that the schedule of events will engage and impact the subgroups of today’s campus community,” Dorsey said.

VSU Archivist Deborah Davis said that while VSU was reluctant to integrate its campus 50 years ago, we are now a shining example of what true integration looks like.

“We are the only school outside of the metro Atlanta area that has the same proportion of black and white students as is reflected in the rest of the state,” Davis said in a video clip on the “50 Years of Integration” website. “We have been, in a lot of ways, the most successful integrators in the state.”

To find out more about the “Celebrating 50 Years” event, call the OSE at 229-333-5463.

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