April 24, 2015 –Fort Valley State University’s Office of Career and Alumni Services recently held a conference designed to motivate young people to take charge of their lives and travel the path of success. The 49th Annual Ralph P. Malone Youth Motivation Task Force took place April 14.
The conference was launched in 1967 by Ralph P. Malone, FVSU’s former director of Career Placement, with the assistance of the National Urban League. The event, led by a group of successful business mentors and FVSU alums, is meant to inspire young people to pursue professional careers. Malone passed away in 1988. Four years,the event was later renamed the Ralph P. Malone Youth Motivation Task Force in his honor.
During this year’s conference, entrepreneurs, professors and business owners visited classrooms to dispense advice about how they succeeded in the business world.
The highlight of the event was the special assembly program held in the C.W. Pettigrew Center.
Mayor Barbara Williams was on hand to extend greetings to the FVSU students and high schoolers visiting from Peach County High School. “Thank you so much for being a part of the task force,” Williams said. The elected official, who is also an FVSU graduate, spoke about Malone’s impact on her life.
“I was a student aide of Mr. Ralph P. Malone,” Williams said. “He was a short man in stature, but tall in character.” She recounted the time that she interviewed with a company and Malone asked how it had gone.
“I told the interviewer that I would only take the job it if it did not compromise my integrity,” she said. “After that, Mr. Malone and I had a very good relationship.” She advised students not to take employment positions that would compromise their integrity.
The keynote speaker for the event was the Rev. Forrest Dickey, the younger brother of FVSU Fine Arts and Mass Communications chair Bobby Dickey. Rev. Forrest Dickey is a Musella, Ga. native who earned his bachelor of arts in business administration from FVSU in 1991. He currently serves as senior pastor for the Stone Springfield AME Church in Stapleton, Ga.
He told students that it was important to have self knowledge and to fully appreciate their individual self worth.
“Knowing thyself means evaluating who you are and what you want to be despite the opinions of other people,” Dickey said.
Dickey explained that self worth goes beyond the color of an individual’s skin, and that his belief in himself enabled him to be greater than he could be. Dickey said that fear stops us from knowing ourselves. Dickey receive an award from Dr. Romelda Y. Simmons, director of Career and Alumni Services and his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc., for his appearance.
The university also recognized the family of Ralph P. Malone, who could not make it to this year’s event.