Harper kicks off conference

Published 3:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hill Harper, actor and author, spoke at the opening ceremony 14th Annual Leadership Conference at Troy University on Feb. 6. 800 people were registered for the event.

“He has the ‘it’ factor,” said Chancellor Jack Hawkins. “He has linked education and success.”

Harper has appeared in the FOX series, “Married…with Children” and the CBS crime drama “CSI:NY” He has also written several books inluding “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest your Destiny” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”

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To kick off the conference, Harper spoke of the idea of leadership.

“We are all connected,” he said. “No matter how well I’m doing in Hollywood, if a young man or young woman in Troy is not doing well, I’m not doing well.

“The future does not belong to those who are fearful,” he said. Harper challenged the audience by asking, “What’s next?” In order to be surrounded by strong leadership, one must be a good leader, Harper said, in so many words.

“If you soar with eagles, you will become an eagle, but if you fly low with the buzzards, you’ll be a buzzard,” Hawkins said.

Because everyone is connected, according to Harper, not only can one be lifted up by others, he can also be pulled down.

“We all have qualities that we can elevate,” Harper said. This was the focus of the opening ceremony to prepare those in attendance not only for the remaining of the conference, but for the future.

The conference will continue on Saturday, Feb. 7:30 a.m. in the Trojan Center at Troy University.

“You are going to be uplifted, educated and inspired to action,” said Mayor Jason Reeves about those attending the conference.

“We want to expose our young people in places like this so they will aspire to become involved in places like this because it’s places like this that hold the key to success,” Hawkins said.