Troy University brought area leaders together on Wednesday morning for its second annual Unity Prayer Breakfast, while also paying tribute to a trailblazing alumnus and current member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
The first Unity Prayer Breakfast took place last June as a starting point for conversation and action regarding the state of race relations at the local, state and national levels. Following the civil unrest resulting from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Vice President Pro-Tem of the University’s Board of Trustees, Lamar P. Higgins, came to Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. with the idea for the event.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Hawkins honored Higgins for his leadership, announcing that the newly renovated ballrooms inside the University’s Trojan Student Center on the Troy Campus would bear Higgins name.
“We are pleased to name these beautiful ballrooms in honor of one of our most celebrated Trustees, Mr. Lamar P. Higgins,” Dr. Hawkins said. “Mr. Higgins was the first African American SGA President at TROY, twice elected, and he was the first African American Trustee. Mr. Higgins was instrumental in us building and locating the Rosa Parks Museum on our Montgomery Campus on the very spot where Mrs. Parks was arrested. It was Mr. Higgins’ idea to initiate the African American Leadership Conference, which now for two decades has been the centerpiece of Black History Month at TROY. We owe so much to him.”
C. Gibson Vance, President Pro-Tem of the University’s Board of Trustees, praised the leadership demonstrated by his fellow trustee.
“By law, the Board of Trustees has one job and that is to set the policies for the University. But, I think we have a bigger responsibility and that responsibility is to establish and maintain the culture of TROY,” Vance said. “Our culture is one of diversity and inclusion. No single person has helped to establish and maintain that culture more than our fellow board member Lamar Higgins. From his years as SGA President where he served for two terms until his time as vice president pro-tem of the board where he serves now, no one has loved the University more.”
Wednesday’s event, sponsored by Fine Geddie Government Relations, once again provided an opportunity for University and community leaders to come together in a celebration of unity.
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said he hoped those in attendance would continue to work for unity.
“We certainly have a lot to celebrate today when it comes to unity, but also we still have a lot to do,” Reeves said. “When I think about the world and the struggles we still have to go through, I think about what unifies us. The thing that really unifies us is our original sin. We have all fallen. I hope that as we move forward that we are not unified by our sinful nature, but that we are unified by that amazing grace.”
The event also featured keynote remarks from Anthony Brock, founder and Head of School for Montgomery’s Valiant Cross Academy.
“We can all do more than we are doing right now,” Brock told the gathering. God is calling all of us to do more. We have so much more in common than we do differences.”
Brock pointed to three ways participants could ensure a better way forward.
“Educate yourselves,” he said. “Sometimes we can be presumptuous and judgmental. We must be intentional about working toward authentic diversity, and we must have authentic conversations with others who may not look like us or think like us. We, as people, have messed up in a lot of ways, and it is up to us to put things back together.”
The event also featured remarks from Mrs. Janice Hawkins, TROY First Lady, and musical performances by Shelia Jackson. Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, Vice Chancellor for the University’s Phenix City Campus, served as emcee for the event.