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Ben Carson to headline 2013 Union University Scholarship Banquet

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson will speak at Union University's Scholarship Banquet Oct. 22.
Dr. Benjamin S. Carson will speak at Union University's Scholarship Banquet Oct. 22.

JACKSON, Tenn.March 14, 2013 – Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, will be the keynote speaker for Union University’s 16th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 22 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tenn.

Carson is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for more than 25 years. He was the keynote speaker for the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast and is one of the speakers for the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Ben Carson participates in the highest sphere of health care in this country,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “He is a person of great influence, as seen by his role in the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. His powerful story is inspirational, edifying and challenging. We will be incredibly blessed to have him as our keynote speaker for the 2013 Scholarship Banquet.”

Carson had a childhood dream of becoming a physician, but a childhood in a single-parent home marked by dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper and low self-esteem seemed to obstruct that goal. But his mother, with only a third grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence, and that message resonated with Carson.

He holds more than 60 honorary doctorates and has received hundreds of awards and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. In 2001, CNN and Time magazine named him one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. The movie “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson, premiered on TNT in 2009 and is based on Carson’s memoir.

Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. The fund has awarded more than $5 million dollars to more than 5,000 scholars.

He is also the author of five books, including “Gifted Hands,” “Think Big” and “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.” Carson and his wife Candy have been married for more than 37 years and have three sons.

The annual Scholarship Banquet has become one of the premier events in West Tennessee each year, and is Union’s primary fund raising event for its student scholarship fund. Previous speakers have included Tony Blair, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Laura Bush, Rudolph Giuliani and Colin Powell, among others.

All told, Union’s Scholarship Banquets have generated about $5.5 million for student scholarships.

Past sponsors have included BancorpSouth, Keith and Beverly Absher, Roy and Martha White, First Bank, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, West Tennessee Healthcare, Northwestern Mutual/Rod and Amy Parker, Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf, Lloyd and Martha Hansen, Impact 360, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Harry and Beth Smith, Robert and Jane Alderson, Norm and Dale Hill, Gary and Susan Grisham, Bill and Katherine Dement, Thad and Alicia Smotherman and David and Lanese Dockery.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels. For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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