Calhoun Students Kick-off the Year with Nationally-Recognized Motivational Speaker



Students enrolled this fall at Calhoun Community College are starting the year “on the road to student success” and will take part in a college-wide student success symposium planned for Tuesday, August 27, 2013.  The Fifth Annual Student Success Symposium, sponsored by Calhoun’s Student Affairs Office, will be held at 11am on the Decatur campus and 5:30pm at the college’s Huntsville campus.

Presenter for the symposium is world-renowned speaker, author, educator, and youth activist Eric Thomas, who will bring a high-energy, motivational message to the students through his own personal experiences.

As is stated in his bio, Thomas is no stranger to the ills which often plague our communities.  Born in Chicago, IL, and raised in Detroit, MI, Thomas’ childhood and adolescent years were difficult.  At the age of 16, he dropped out of high school and left home, choosing to live on the streets.  A mentoring relationship with a local minister led Thomas to complete his GED at 17 and to subsequently enroll at Oakwood University.

While a student at Oakwood, he started Break The Cycle I Dare You (BTC), a non-profit youth development and special events organization which focuses on developing programs for youth who have made bad choices and most often have experienced family, social and academic struggles.  Thomas now serves as chairman of the organization. 

Thomas is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Education Administration at Michigan State, where he also works as an academic advisor in the Office of Supportive Services, developing The Advantage, an undergraduate retention program targeting academically at-risk students of color.  In addition, Thomas serves as Senior Pastor of A Place of Change Ministries in Lansing, Michigan. 

The author of “Secrets to Success” The Autobiography, Thomas has spoken to hundreds of organizations and educational institutions across the country including the National Football League (NFL) Players Association, the University of Alabama-Birmingham Men’s Basketball program, the University of Massachusetts Athletic Department, Purdue University, Michigan State University, and Oakwood University.

During the Calhoun symposium, information will be provided on such topics as promoting leadership, working toward graduation and empowerment. Information will also be provided on advising, ADA services, financial aid, service learning opportunities, developmental studies, and tutoring services.

“It is our intent through this symposium to provide information to our students on what Calhoun has to offer to support their success while at the college,” commented Dr. Kermit Carter, Calhoun’s Dean for Student Affairs.  “We have close to 12,000 students with us this fall, many of them first-time college students, and we have planned this event to motivate and encourage them as they begin or continue their education journey with us,” Carter added.


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