GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Clemson University hosted its sixth annual, award-winning, and sold-out Men of Color National Summit at the Greenville Convention Center.

“Confidence, continued confidence,” James Robinson of Hinds Community College said. “Once you believe in yourself and realize that you are a uniquely gifted human you can do all things.”

The university says the summit was established to support some of their key priorities to help close the opportunity gap for African American and Hispanic men, create an inclusive climate and establish a sustainable, diverse pipeline of qualified college graduates entering the workforce.

One of the summit’s presenting sponsors, Boeing presented the Clemson Tiger Alliance Scholarship at the summit, providing a young man with an opportunity to attend Clemson for four years for free.

“I hope that the young men who came through are inspired,” Operations Superintendent for Boeing Richard Austin said. “That they see an opportunity for them to do more. Also, I hope they see an opportunity for them to eventually pour back into the organizations that have poured into them.”

The summit hosted more than 2,000 students and professionals from across the nation. Hearing from over 30 keynote speakers, some in attendance tell us the opportunity to attend was special.

“It is very important, especially in a university like this which is a PWI (predominately white institution),” South Carolina State student Jordan Puch. “I go to an HBCU (historically black college or university). To see a PWI host a conference like this and be so big on equity and inclusion I feel is important to the whole state.”

Leon Wiles, the first Chief Diversity Officer at Clemson University in 2008 says he has seen great change and summits like this one continues to provide an opportunity to make a difference in supporting the unique needs that young men of color may face through their academic and professional careers.

“There has been a quantum improvement in terms of the access and inclusion from people of all different experiences and walks of life,” Wiles said.