Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Social Justice Roundtable: Invitation Only
“Talking Black in America” Film and Discussion, 4:00 p.m. at Lynchburg College, Hopwood Auditorium Free and Open to the Public
Networking Reception, 6:00 pm at Lynchburg College, Drysdale Student Center, West Room; Bower Veterans Lounge Reception for guests and conference registrants
Saturday, November 4th, 2017
8:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. All Day Conference
Friday, November 3 at 7:00 pm in Ballroom, Hall Campus Center at Lynchburg College
Leland is the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space. The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored his athletic and academic accomplishments by placing his Detroit Lions jersey under glass in Canton, Ohio. Through these professional experiences working on high stakes teams he developed a deep and nuanced understanding of effective team dynamics.
Leland has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master’s degree in materials science engineering. He worked at NASA Langley Research Center in the area of nondestructive testing creating optical fiber sensors for measuring damage in aerospace vehicles, resulting in publications in numerous scientific journals. After hanging up his space boots he was appointed head of NASA Education and served as the co-chair on the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Education Task Force developing the nation’s 5-year STEM education plan. Leland was the United States representative and chair of the International Space Education Board (ISEB), a global collaboration on learning about space. He uses his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) careers.
Leland holds four honorary doctorates for his service in education, the sciences and philanthropy. He was chosen as an ICON MANN with Quincy Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Steve Harvey and 24 other men selected for their ability to inspire people of all ages through their vision and commitment to creating positive change throughout the world. Leland has been honored with the NFL Players Association “Award of Excellence” for inspiring athletes to pursue excellence on and off the field. He has written a chapter on the power of visualization in Venus Williams’ book Come to Win. Leland has appeared on Top Chef as a celebrity judge and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, while Cesar Milan helped him with his unruly pooch Jake on an episode of The Dog Whisperer. He was featured in a Sci Fi Channel program documenting the making of the Reach for the Stars will.i.am song, which was transmitted to Mars and back to inspire students to pursue STEAM. After 24 years with NASA as a researcher, astronaut and Senior Executive Service leader he looks to share his stories of perseverance and excellence to inspire communities for lasting positive change.
Leland’s unique travels and experiences have allowed him to create inspired imagery taken on and off planet. He enjoys viewing the beauty and magnitude of the earth through the lens of his camera and cherishes the experience of seeing our planet from space. This perspective is known to create an Orbital Shift that can change an individual’s attitude about how they see their place in the Universe. Leland’s image galleries; On Earth, From Space and In Space, showcase the beauty of our planet and the views that informed his own Orbital Shift. Hopefully these images of our planet, our Universe, and the human made structures inhabiting space will inspire you to help preserve our home.
Leland currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Keynote Speaker for Saturday Nov. 4: Dr. Robert Lee IV
The Reverend Robert Wright Lee, IV is an author, activist, commentator, writer, and preacher. Lee is a native of Statesville, North Carolina and recent graduate of Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He received his Masters of Theological studies in May of this year with a focus in practical theology and homiletics His thesis was on the corpus work of Bishop Will Willimon who was named one of the greatest preachers of our time. Rob completed his undergraduate work in Religious Studies and Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University where he met his wife Stephanie.
Rob is a regular columnist for the Statesville Record and Landmark, his hometown newspaper in the faith section. That column has included interviews with Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Dr. William H. Willimon, Dr. Diana Butler Bass, the Reverend James Martin, SJ, and many Statesville citizens. He has written extensively for both secular and religious news outlets. Rob’s work has appeared in outlets such as NPR’s Morning Edition, Ministry Matters, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Huffington Post, the Common English Bible: Student Edition and most notably the Washington Post. He has preached from churches with 10 members to churches with 4,000 members.
Recently, Rob has been engaged as an activist in the field of racial reconciliation. He participated in the MTV Video Music awards and was on the View where he spoke about the need to confront white supremacy and white privilege in white churches.
Rob’s first book is titled Stained-Glass Millennials and explores the relationship between the institutional church and the Millennial generation. It received endorsements from such names as Dr. William Shiell, Dr. Amy Butler, Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, and Dr. Stephen Chapman. This May, he recorded a preaching broadcast for Day 1 Ministries, a Mainline radio preaching ministry that airs on 220 stations worldwide.
Rob was baptized and raised United Methodist, at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Statesville, and was ordained in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at First Baptist Church, West Jefferson. He believes himself to be an ecclesial mutt and cherishes the variety of traditions in which he has served. Lee lives in Boone, North Carolina with his wife Stephanie and his toy poodle Frank.