MTSU Names Speaker, Honorees for 2024 Unity Luncheon

Jan 18, 2024 at 12:42 pm by WGNS News

Featured keynote speaker Dr. Cary E. Holman.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University announced honorees for the 28th annual Unity Luncheon, which has been an anchor for Black History Month activities at the university since 1996.

“Where There Is Unity, There Is Strength” is the theme of this year’s luncheon, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Student Union Ballroom, located at 1768 MTSU Blvd.


Featured keynote speaker is MTSU alumnus and former adjunct instructor Cary E. Holman, director of the Franklin County School District. In addition to a nearly 30-year career in education, Holman is an ordained minister and associate pastor at Believers Faith Fellowship in Christiana.

Hosted by the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, the Unity Luncheon pays homage to the community’s unsung heroes.

Honorees are age 50 or older who have resided in the Middle Tennessee area for 20 years or more and have made outstanding contributions to the community. To date, there have been 140 unsung heroes honored — with six more added to the list this year.

Honorees this year include:

  • Education— Kool Club Scholarship founders: Edd Hill, Stanley Murphy and Collier Woods
  • Advocate of Civility— Dr. Patricia Harlan
  • Community Service— Sharonese Henderson
  • Commitment to Black Arts— Johnie Payton

This year the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame will also join the celebration by inducting three prominent Tennesseans.

The luncheon features a catered meal and entertainment in addition to the speaker and awards presentation. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for students, and $280 for a table of eight. Purchase online through Jan. 31 by visiting and clicking on the “Unity Celebration” tab.

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