Benjamin Carson, director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., will be the keynote speaker at the 16th annual scholarship banquet Oct. 22 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
Carson, also professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Craniofacial Center, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 and was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership as one of “America’s Best Leaders.”
He spoke Feb. 7 at the National Prayer Breakfast – where he criticized President Barack Obama and described political correctness as unnecessary, making people name him a potential presidential candidate – and March 16 at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Landon Preston, director of donor relations, said Carson likely will tell his personal story — how he grew up in a single parent home and went from struggling with poor grades and a lack of motivation to becoming a renowned neurosurgeon.
“One of the primary purposes of the scholarship banquet beyond raising funds for student scholarships is to expose the Union and Jackson community to some of the thoughts of the world’s leading thinkers,” Preston said. “Dr. Carson stands as one of the country’s premier health care leaders as well as a powerful intellectual whose story demonstrates the power of a faith and hard work to influence others in a powerful and positive way for Christ.”
SGA President Caleb Valentine, sophomore biblical studies major, said he first became aware of Carson after he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and people began to talk about how Carson should run for president.
“[This] is probably the most excited I have been about any of the scholarship banquet speakers we have so far,” Valentine said. “He comes from a unique background in that he wasn’t necessarily in politics or government like Tony Blair or Robert Gates, and he’s a very accomplished surgeon, but at the same time he’s also written a couple of books and spoken [at political events].”
Preston said he expects a good turnout.
“So far we have received an overwhelming response from donors and friends in the community,” Preston said. “We sold a considerable number of tables since our announcement, and people continue to purchase sponsorships for the event.”
About 1,500 faculty, students, community members and donors attended the 2012 scholarship banquet, which featured Robert Gates, former secretary of defense.
That event raised more than $500,000 for student scholarships.