Know What I Mean? From Welfare to Princeton

Michael Eric Dyson, hip-hop intellectual and best-selling author to speak at Mentor Tech Banquet.

Written by Kelly Kleinsteuber

More information on Dyson can be found at Download his bio. Click to enlarge image.

On the Today Show, author Michael Eric Dyson discusses how the death of Dr. King on that fateful day changed our country. Watch >>

Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times best-selling author and cultural critic, will give the keynote speech at the Seventh Annual Mentor Tech Scholarship Banquet at 7 p.m. April 24 in the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall.

Dyson, a two-time National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award winner, recently published the best-selling “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America.” His other books range in topics from Tupac Shakur to the racial and class fallout of Hurricane Katrina.

His latest book, “Can You Hear Me Now?” is set to be released April 21. The revealing and relevant book focuses on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency. Dyson is currently a University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University.

Once a teenage father living on the welfare program, Dyson’s life turned around when he got more actively involved with his church. With the help of his pastor, Dyson became a Baptist minister by 21. To provide a better future for his son, Dyson recognized the need for an education and earned his doctoral degree from Princeton University.

Cory Powell, assistant director of Mentor Tech, said the organization aims to enhance the educational experience of students from underrepresented populations by teaming each student with a faculty or staff mentor.

“Mentor Tech provides a support group that is in line with our students’ academic, social and cultural needs,” Powell said. “We hope by giving these students support when they first come on campus that we can help them stay in school and graduate.”

To qualify for the program, a student must be a freshman, first-year transfer or first-year graduate student at Texas Tech. The students must commit to be part of the program for one year, but may continue beyond that point.

Mentor Tech is a program through the Division of Institutional Diversity and Community Engagement, formally called the Lauro Cavazos and Ophelia Powell-Malone Mentoring Program. Cavazos was the first Texas Tech graduate to serve as the university’s president and Powell-Malone was the first African American undergraduate to enroll at Texas Tech.

The program began in 2002 with 45 students and more than 100 mentors from the university faculty and staff. Mentor Tech has grown to nearly 450 participants today.

Tickets are $45 per person. Tables of eight can be purchased for $450. Tables at the $650 include passes to a VIP reception with Dyson.  Proceeds benefit the Mentor Tech scholarship fund. For tickets or more information, contact Powell at (806) 742-8692 or For more information on the program, visit the Mentor Tech Web site.


Mentor Tech

Although many participants are members of under-represented populations, Mentor Tech is open to all freshmen, transfer and first-year graduate students interested in resources and experiences that enrich their time at Texas Tech and improve their pursuit of academic excellence.

Mentor Tech

Mentors are faculty and staff members who give back to the students because they believe in the program and want to make a difference.

Smiling Girls

Mentors and protégés are paired according to their academic, professional, social and cultural interests.

Mentor Tech Girls

As a unit within the Office of the President, Mentor Tech offers rigorous academic workshops and career seminars along with social events to help students make the most of their time at Texas Tech.

Cory Powell

Mentor Tech Program Director Cory S. Powell, a native of San Antonio and a graduate of Texas Tech University, knows first-hand what an adjustment college can be for new students.