Campus News

Dr. Verna Ruffin is keynote speaker for African American Leadership Conference, April 22, in Jackson


Contact 1: Bud Grimes

MARTIN, Tenn. — Jackson-Madison County superintendent of schools Dr. Verna Ruffin is the keynote speaker for the 16th annual African American Leadership Conference on Tuesday, April 22, at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson.

The event will run from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and is sponsored by UT Martin’s WestStar Leadership Program, AT&T, the cities of Brownsville and Covington, First South Bank-Brownsville, Tennessee Access and Diversity Initiatives, West Tennessee Healthcare and the UT Center for Industrial Services. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and includes a continental breakfast. Anne Banks, a 1997 WestStar graduate from Brownsville, is conference emcee.

Ruffin and other speakers will address leadership topics related to the conference theme “Challenges and Opportunities.” Speakers to follow Ruffin include Dr. Jerry Woods, executive vice president, Lane College; Terry Moore, financial advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Robert Nunley, coordinator, Martin Housing Authority’s Learning Enrichment Center After-School Program; and Gloria Sweet-Love, NAACP state president – Tennessee Conference.

The lunch speaker is Judge Nathan B. Pride, circuit court judge, 26th Judicial District, Division 3, who is followed at 1:15 p.m. by a panel discussion about the Affordable Care Act. The panel features Robert Davis Jr., enrollment coordinator, Hardeman County Community Health Center; Ruby Kirby, administrator, Bolivar Community Hospital; and Dr. Teresa Woodard, internal medicine physician, Brownsville. Panel moderator is Evelyn Robertson, of Whiteville, a 1997 WestStar graduate.

The conference fee is $35 per person or $60 for two. The fee includes the continental breakfast, a lunch catered by D&L Barbecue, of Jackson, all speakers and networking opportunities.

Advance registration is required by Wed., April 16, and can be completed online at by selecting the “conferences and events” link. Credit cards are accepted online, and checks can be made payable to WestStar-UT Martin, 321 Hall-Moody Administration Bldg., Martin, TN 38238.

Call the WestStar Leadership Program at 731-881-7298 for additional information, or e-mail Virginia Grimes at



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