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OU George McLaurin & Sylvia A. Lewis Conference
OU George McLaurin & Sylvia A. Lewis Conference
OU George McLaurin & Sylvia A. Lewis Conference

2022 Keynote Speakers - TBA

McLaurin and Lewis Leadership Conference

Past Speaker

Bola Ibidapo

Bola Ibidapo was born and raised in Plano, TX and daughter of two Nigerian parents. Ibidapo graduated from the Unversity of Oklahoma as a Journalism-Public Relations major and Spanish and Nonprofit minor. Through the course of her life, Bola has always been passionate about impacting her community, especially the next generation of leaders and youth. In 2018, Bola presented her first TEDx talk entitled “Inspiring The Aspiring: Equipping The Next Generation of Leaders”. Along with her corporate career as a claims and litigation specialist, Bola is the founder of two nonprofits—The Too Fly Foundation, which provides travel grants and passports to underserved students studying or volunteering abroad and The Queen Talk, which instills leadership and entrepreneurial development in young girls. She enjoys helping nonprofits start-up and begin their own journey. When not working, she loves serving in her church’s youth group and traveling. 

Stevie "Dr. View" Johnson

Stevie “Dr. View” Johnson is a DJ, producer, educator and community organizer from Longview, TX. Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D in Higher Education Administration from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2019. His dissertation entitled Curriculum of the Mind: A BlackCrit, Narrative Inquiry Hip Hop Album on Anti-Blackness & Freedom for Black Male Collegians at historically white institutions, received the 2019 Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year Award for the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Dr. View is also the CEO of The Space Program (TSP), an independent record label and hip hop collective in Oklahoma City. Dr. View is also the Director of Education and Diversity Outreach for the Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie Centers, both which are located in Tulsa, OK. Lastly, Dr. View is the husband of Ariel Johnson and father of two-year old Amir Sky.

Cordney McClain

Cordney D. McClain is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion with the Price College of Business. He is an alumnus with an undergraduate degree in Business Communications in 2008. Cordney then obtained his Master’s in Business Administration from Ashford University shortly after and holds multiple certifications in areas such as financial literacy, diversity and inclusion, and project management but his passion is primarily community outreach. Cordney has over a decade of mentorship and professional development experience, held diversity education chairs in the corporate arena, and sits on the board for the Black Male Initiative at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., an Oklahoma Army National Guard veteran, and co-founder of nonprofit organization Brother 4 Progress, Inc. He is also a husband and the father of two toddler girls. 

Another passion of Cordney's is spoken word in which he performs and is a three time published author, naming 2018 release Blacker Than Shakespeare’s Ink, a solely released collection to inspire, evoke emotion, and present visions while giving a front row view of his personal narratives on race relations, class, spirituality, and personal evolution.

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.

He is currently the host of BET News and a political contributor for CNN. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Morehouse College.

Since his days as a youth in Philadelphia, Dr. Hill has been a social justice activist and organizer. He is a founding board member of My5th, a non-profit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. He is also a board member and organizer of the Philadelphia Student Union. Dr. Hill also works closely with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. Over the past few years, he has actively worked on campaigns to end the death penalty and to release numerous political prisoners.

Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential Black leaders.

Dr. Hill is the author or co-author of four books: the award-winning "Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity"; "The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black life in America"; the New York Times bestseller "Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on The Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond"; and "Gentrifier". He has also published two edited books: "Media, Learning, and Sites of Possibility"; and "Schooling Hip-Hop: New Directions in Hip-Hop Based Education".

Trained as an anthropologist of education, Dr. Hill holds a Ph.D. (with distinction) from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the intersections between culture, politics, and education in the United States and the Middle East.

"CarolineInspires" Bennett is devoted to affirming the lives of Black girls inside and out. #CarolineInspires invokes conversations and thought processes that incites an irresistible yearning for transformation.

Inspired by her realities, dreams, passion, purpose, and hustle in life, Bennett illuminates the lived experiences of Black girls and their truths. She uses spoken word, story-telling and song as tools of liberation and resistance to join with Black girls who have been silenced by their past and/or paralyzed by their fear. As a Black woman, her status as a first-generation graduate student pursuing a Master's in Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University on a full-ride scholarship has afforded her a unique “outside-within” status.

Born and raised on the North “Nawf” side of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she is a proud product of the 'hood. She is notorious for saying, “The ‘Streets’ #RaisedMe, the University of Oklahoma #GroomedMe, and The Ohio State University #BloomedMe." Bennett believes there is no hierarchy where knowledge is produced nor is there a hierarchy in the form knowledge takes.

Among her many accomplishments, not only has she had the opportunities to study abroad in Tanzania, Africa, and perform the national anthem at the 2016 University of Oklahoma's College of Arts & Sciences Graduation, she is also recognized as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Miss Black OK US Ambassador 2015.

A soon to be two-time graduate of higher education, Caroline will graduate loan and debt free. She believes, “The sky is NOT the limit, YOU are.” She encourages Black girls and youth to strive towards impact and be more than "impressions." She is on a life-long mission to constantly remind the world: “YES! Black girls can impress & impact at the same darn time.”

Caroline acknowledges how her journey to self has been far from easy yet it has been more than worth it and beautiful.

Spencer Tillman is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and attended The University of Oklahoma, where he double-majored in Journalism and Communications and was a student-athlete on the football team as a running back. Tillman is a member of the 1985 National Championship team and won the title of “Orange Bowl MVP” that year.

Upon graduation, he went on to have a successful career in the NFL for about eight seasons as a Houston Oiler (now the Tennessee Titans), and as the team captain of the 1989 Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers.

Tillman is now the color analyst for Fox Sports 1 alongside Tim Brando. He can be seen just about every College Football Saturday on FS1 and every NFL Sunday on KTRK, giving expert analysis on The Houston Texans.

While off-camera, Tillman has been a featured key-note speaker for companies such as Dannon, Chick-fil-A, Popeye’s, NFL Players Association, and the US Army. He is a lifestudent, leader, man of faith, brother, husband, father and a friend.

Alisa is a Marketing and Event Management enthusiast. She coordinates and leads special event projects that help people and businesses achieve personal or professional goals. 

Tillman is from Houston, and is an alumna of The University of Oklahoma. She recently founded a non-profit that provides co-curricular activity resources for high school and collegiate students and student-athletes.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., BerThaddaeus is the 11th child of Reverend Dr. Bertrand Maurice and Juandalyn Joan Bailey, Sr.

He is the first student to simultaneously obtain a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public and business administration at the University of Oklahoma.

During his academic tenure, he was featured on CNN, MSNBC, and Good Morning America discussing the racial tensions that followed a tumultuous event on campus.

Upon graduation, he founded a nonprofit organization (Speaks 4 You, Inc.) to assist other students in achieving similar collegiate success. BerThaddaeus is also the founder of the Dr. Jerome B. Wade Scholarship, named in memory of his long-time childhood mentor.

He currently serves as the State of Oklahoma's Policy & Research Analyst where he researches federal and state statutes and advises state agencies and divisions on policy formation and implementation.

In March 2018, BerThaddaeus married the love of his life and high school sweetheart, JaQuitta Danielle Bailey. JaQuitta works in meteorology at Weathernews where she routes ship captains around severe weather.

When asked about his lifelong aspirations and goals, humbly he responds, "If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, then my living will not be in vain."

Born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Etan Thomas’ childhood was surrounded by books on the civil rights movement, politics, and the 1960′s. He was greatly influenced by his mother, Deborah Thomas, a schoolteacher, who instilled in her two sons to think critically and use their platform to make a difference. Thomas has made his mark far beyond the boundaries of his 11 years in the NBA.

His latest work, "We Matter: Athletes And Activism” was released on March 6, 2018, and features a collection of interviews intertwined with the heartfelt commentary of his own to create a masterpiece. The work includes voices of athletes, activists, media personalities, scholars, and the family of victims of police brutality. "We Matter" was listed as one of the 10 best activism books of all time by Book Authority and tied for best non-fiction for 2018 by the African-American Literary Awards (AALAS)

His writings have appeared in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, Hoopshype.com and slamonline. He frequently can be seen on MSNBC as a special correspondent for “hot topics.” He continues to be invited on syndicated radio and co-hosts a weekly local radio show on WPFW 89.3FM, The Collision, where sports and politics collide.

Dr. Tiffany T. Crutcher is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and currently resides in Montgomery, Alabama. She completed her undergraduate studies at Langston University and earned a Master’s of Science and a Clinical Doctorate in Physical Rehabilitation from Alabama State University.

Dr. Crutcher has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to health and wellness.  For over 15 years, she has provided rehab services to individuals with functional disabilities associated with disease and illness at Rehab CONNECT, an Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic located in Union Springs, Alabama.  She also serves as Director of Rehabilitation Services at Southern Springs Impatient Rehab Center in Union Springs.  Dr. Crutcher maintains an active role in educating underserved populations concerning the merits of health, wellness, and prevention.

She was recently thrust into the national spotlight following the death of her twin brother, Terence Crutcher, who was shot by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while holding his hands in the air.  The murder of her brother compelled Tiffany to speak out against police brutality, particularly the killing of unarmed black men.  She has chosen to turn her personal tragedy into an opportunity to bridge fear, mistrust, and help transform a justice system that has long perpetuated injustice.  She has remained committed to organizing coalitions and task forces throughout the country that promote the interests of minority communities.  Dr. Crutcher is the Founder of the Terence Crutcher Foundation.  The foundation’s primary focus is to provide life skills to disenfranchised black men, provide scholarships to African-Americans bettering their life through education, and to promote non-violence initiatives throughout communities of color.

In addition to serving on the Alabama State University Clinical Advisory Board for clinical education, Dr. Crutcher is credentialed as a clinical instructor, athletic trainer, and certified weight trainer.  She also serves on the advisory board for the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) at Bullock County High School in Union Springs.  She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a proud graduate of the James W. Wright Leadership Development Institute designed to positively impact the citizens and business community of the greater Montgomery area and surrounding communities.

Dr. Crutcher is the recipient of many awards and honors including the 2017 Cecil St. Clair Service Award (Montgomery, Alabama), the 2018 Martin Luther King Service Award (Union Springs, Alabama), and the 2016 Women in Heels Leadership Award (Tulsa, Oklhaoma), just to name a few.  She has been featured on 60 Minutes, The View, CNN, MSNBC, The Steve Harvey Morning Show, The Roland Martin Show, Keeping It Real with Al Sharpton Radio broadcast and many more advocating for police reform.

Dr. Crutcher has been a mentor to many, empowering men and women to live out their true purpose through personal growth and development, while helping them become successful in business and in life.  She is truly an agent of change and highly sought after because of her authentic ability to inspire the masses into action. Dr. Tiffany Crutcher is now known as “America’s Sister”.  

T. Elon Dancy II, Ph.D. began his tenure as the third Helen S. Faison Endowed Chair and Director of the Center for Urban Education in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh on July 1, 2018. He came to this appointment from his role as Professor and Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Academic Inclusion in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma.

Prior to the associate deanship, Dancy served as Fellow in the OU Office of the Senior Vice-President and Provost. He also held affiliate faculty appointments in African and African American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Center for Social Justice.

An education sociologist, Dancy studies educational settings as sites for social identity development. His research focuses on issues of access and equity in the educational pipeline as informed by race, gender, class, and other sociopolitical locations. More specifically, Dancy’s scholarship is driven by questions related to sociohistorical contexts, masculinity formations, and how institutional praxis affects students’ academic and social outcomes. His journal articles have considered higher education issues, teacher preparation for minoritized students, school-to-prison pipelines, and race and gender hegemony in education. Publications appear in highly visible journals including The Journal of School Leadership, Equity & Excellence in Education, Teachers College Record, American Behavioral Scientist, Urban Education and Journal of Negro Education (among others).

Dancy is the author/editor of six books and monographs – "Managing Diversity: (Re)visioning Equity on College Campuses" (2010), "The Brother Code: Manhood and Masculinity among African American Males in College" (2012), "Educating African American Males: Contexts for Consideration, Possibilities for Practice" (2012), "African American Males and Education: Examining the Convergence of Race and Identity" (2012), "Black Male Collegians: Increasing Access, Retention, and Persistence in Higher Education" (2014), and "Black Colleges across the Diaspora: Global Perspectives on Race and Stratification in Postsecondary Education" (2017). He is the author or co-author of over 70 journal articles, book chapters, and publications related to education and society.  Dancy is also past editor of The College Student Affairs Journal.

Dancy holds research awards and citations from the American Education Research Association (AERA) Division J, the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Council on Ethnic Participation, and several other national research institutes. In 2014, Diverse Issues in Higher Education named him Top Emerging Scholar for his contribution to the study of race and gender in higher education and society. 

Dancy’s professional service includes Chair of the AERA Research Focus on Black Education, Executive Board Member for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, appointments to numerous AERA and ASHE committees, and editorial board member for several journals and handbooks in education research. In addition, he served as a member of the State of Oklahoma Black Education Advisory Board following senatorial appointment. His research on gender identity and academic outcomes among boys and men of color has been supported by several agencies including the National Science Foundation. Dancy has served as subject matter expert for several highly visible periodicals including Ebony magazine, The Root.com, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

President Joseph Harroz, Jr.

Joseph Harroz, Jr. was named the 15th president of the University of Oklahoma on May 9, 2020.

He has served the university for nearly 25 years in various leadership roles, serving most recently as OU’s interim president and as dean of the College of Law.

As president of OU, Harroz carried through on the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for OU’s future – a collaborative process that began early in his interim presidency. The strategic plan aims to position OU as a top-tier public research university that fosters a culture of inclusivity, innovation, and excellence.  

Throughout his nine-year tenure as dean of OU Law, the college earned national recognition, including the highest-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking by any Oklahoma law school and the first law school in the nation to achieve Apple Distinguished School status from Apple, Inc.

Prior to becoming dean, Harroz served two years as president of a publicly traded health care company, growing its market capitalization to more than $80 million. From 1994 to 2008, he held roles at the University of Oklahoma, serving first as vice president for executive affairs and then for 12 years as general counsel, the chief legal counsel to the president, the OU Board of Regents, Rogers State University, and Cameron University.

Harroz began his legal career as a legislative director and legal counsel in the U.S. Senate.

A native Oklahoman, Harroz graduated Phi Beta Kappa from OU in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a minor in zoology. He earned his J.D. in 1992 from Georgetown University Law Center.

Dr. Belinda Biggs-Hyppolite

On January 6, Dr. Belinda Higgs Hyppolite joined the OU Executive team and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. In her 24-year long career in higher education, she served in a variety of leadership roles and responsibilities starting in Student Affairs, where she worked on retention for at-risk students. She continued her career in Housing and Residential Life working with the residential student body.

Dr. Higgs Hyppolite has spent her career focused on social justice issues plaguing faculty, staff, and student success. Dr. Hyppolite has supported and advocated for a number of student populations to include low-income, first generation, foster care, religious and non-religious, DACA/TPS, and undocumented students. She also advocated for students in fraternity and sorority organizations,  multicultural organizations, and students in foster care. Her commitment to advance social justice in higher education brought her to work in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Greek Life, and Multicultural Affairs. 

Throughout her career, Dr. Hyppolite has passionately advocated for the voiceless through her work in diversity education and oppression reduction. As a social justice advocate and educator, she believes that access to education is a right, not a privilege. Persevering in her journey to promote the success of diverse faculty, staff, and students, Dr. Hyppolite is proud to serve as the new Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and OU's Chief Diversity Officer.