MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change will honor West Tennessee native Marvin R. Ellison, CEO of JCPenney, at the Institute's annual "Join Hands for Change" gala on April 21. The gala's theme, "Empowering, Supporting and Celebrating African American Men: Triumph through Perseverance," highlights the contributions of men such as Ellison, a University of Memphis alumnus who has achieved significant personal and professional success. The gala will highlight the Hooks Institute's innovative programs that are intended to help eliminate racial, educational, economic and other disparities in the Mid-South, such as the Hooks African-American Male Initiative, a program that focuses on increasing the retention and graduation of African-American students at the UofM.
"As a University of Memphis alumnus, I couldn't be more proud of the mission that the Hooks Institute is leading, and I am truly humbled to be honored at this year's gala," said Ellison. "I believe hard work, strong faith in God and a commitment to education are keys to achieving the success one desires in life. I hope my story can serve as an inspiration to others and help shine a light on the important work the Institute is doing to increase the retention and graduation rates of African-American males attending the University of Memphis."
The gala will begin at 7 p.m. at the UofM Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave. For additional information about this event, contact the Hooks Institute or go to www.memphis.edu/benhooks.
The Hooks Institute for Social Change is the legacy of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, a lifelong advocate for civil rights and social justice recognized nationally for his efforts in this role. In 1996, University of Memphis officials received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to create the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in the College of Arts & Sciences. The ongoing mission of the Institute is the teaching, studying and promotion of civil rights and social change. For 20 years, the Hooks Institute has played a pivotal role in framing and solving community problems through the wisdom and vision of pioneers like Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks, and through the ongoing work of scholars, students, community leaders and members.
SOURCE The Hooks Institute