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Texas A&M University
Black Former Student Network Summit
News Release
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M University’s 2008 Black Former Student Network (BFSN) Summit is scheduled on campus Jan. 17-20.  Organizers say this year’s theme, “Honoring the Legacy,” commemorates those who have cleared a path for the progress African-Americans have experienced throughout the years, while also challenging future generations of African-American Aggies to continue to move forward while remembering and honoring those who have come before them.
Summit speakers include Texas A&M President Elsa Murano, who will be making one of her first public presentations since being named president; State Sen. Royce West; State Rep. Senfronia Thompson; business executive Randal Pinkett, and Roland Martin, a nationally syndicated columnist.

The event is planned in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference (SBSLC) at Texas A&M, which draws African-American students from colleges throughout the nation. They come together each year to address issues facing the black community. Like SBSLC, summit dialogue and planning will focus on topics relative to student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention. 

Pinkett, speaking at the “partners” breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Friday (Jan. 18) in Duncan Dining Hall, is the founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multi-million-dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, N.J.  BCT Partners is one of the leading firms in the country with expertise in housing and community development, economic development, healthcare, human services and education. Pinkett holds five degrees, from Rutgers University, the University of Oxford in England and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is perhaps best known as winner of the NBCtelevision show, The Apprentice, and was chosen from among 1 million applicants competing to run one of Donald Trump’s companies.

President Murano, speaking at 10:30 a.m. Friday in 601 Rudder Tower, will give summit participants an update on the status of African-Americans at Texas A&M.  

Sen. West, who will speak at the legacy luncheon at noon Friday in 201 Memorial Student Center, has represented District 23 (Dallas County) in the Texas Legislature since 1993. He chairs the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee and is a member of the Senate Committees on Education, Finance, and Health and Human Services and serves on the Higher Education Subcommittee and the Joint Select Committee on Operation and Management of the Texas Youth Commission.

The luncheon will be followed by a panel discussion on “African-American Issues in Texas Higher Education” at 1:30 p.m. in 601 Rudder Tower. Panelists include Sen. West and Rep. Thompson.

Rep. Thompson has served longer in the Texas Legislature than any other woman or African-American. A Houston attorney and former public school teacher, she is serving her 17th term for District 141, representing northeast Houston and Humble in the House of Representatives.

Martin, who will serve as moderator of the panel, is an award-winning journalist and a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. He also is the author of Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America. Martin is a broadcast commentator for TV One Cable Network and hosts his own radio show for Chicago’s WVON-AM/1690. He is also a contributor on several CNN shows and recently joined Essence Magazine as a special correspondent.

Summit participation is open to former students, current students and interested campus personnel.  Registration can be completed online at  
Questions about the BFSN summit may be directed to the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity at (979) 458-2905 or email  
Contact: Tura King at (979) 845-470 or  

For more news about Texas A&M University, go to

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