Two women who overcame barriers to reach the heights of military achievement will headline MTSU's second annual LGBT+ College Conference.
The gathering, which carries the theme of "Diversify Your World," is slated for April 9-11 at various locations on campus.
Brig. Gen. Tammy S. Smith, deputy chief of staff in the U.S. Army Reserve, will speak at the conference awards dinner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building.
Smith is the armed forces' first active-duty, openly gay flag officer to acknowledge her homosexuality publicly since the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 2011.
The dinner will honor and recognize outstanding civic, corporate, community and academic leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and their allies in Tennessee. Registration is required. Tickets are $50 per person.
Former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour, who was MTSU's 2014 Alumna of the Year, will return to campus to deliver the conference's keynote address at 7 p.m. Friday, April 10, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.
Armour was the first black female combat pilot and first black female naval aviator in the Marine Corps. After her military career, she founded VAI Consulting and Training LLC, a motivational speaking service.
Hosted by the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences and the MT Lambda student organization, the conference is an opportunity for students, faculty and staff from colleges and universities to discuss subjects important to the LGBT+ communities.
Panel discussion topics include interfacing with institutions, veterans transitioning, Greek life, religion and bringing your whole self to work.
Poster presentations of research related to LGBT+ issues will be on display from 11 a.m. to noon and from 3-4 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Sam Ingram Building, 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd.
Attendees are invited to discuss their research with corporate and community sponsors, which include Deloitte Services LLC, a financial advisory firm, and Nissan North America.
Original one-minute films with LGBT+ themes will be screened from 6:45-8 p.m. April 9 in the Keathley University Center Theater. The winners will be determined by audience approval.
Ilona Turner, legal director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, will discuss "The Legal and Right Way to Inclusion" at 10:30 a.m. April 11 in Room 160 of the College of Education Building.
With the exception of the awards dinner, the entire conference is free and open to the public.
A complete schedule is available at http://tinyurl.com/qa5nuf9. For a campus parking map, go to http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.