Monday, February 08, 2016

[306] Unity Luncheon to honor deserving public servants Feb. 18 at MTSU

Feb. 11 deadline nears to purchase tickets

MURFREESBORO — Nine Tennesseans whose lives have centered around service to others will be celebrated at MTSU’s annual Unity Luncheon as part of the university’s observance of Black History Month.

Judge Camille R. McMullen of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals will be the featured speaker at the luncheon, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in the Student Union Ballroom.

The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday, Feb. 11. Tickets are $25 and are available at

McMullen was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to fill a vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in June 2008. She was elected to that position in August 2008. She is the first African-American woman to serve on an intermediate court in Tennessee history.

Previously, McMullen was an assistant district attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee from 2001 to 2008 and assistant district attorney for the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office from 1997 to 2001.

An MTSU tradition since 1996, the Unity Luncheon celebrates unsung community heroes age 60 or older who have lived in the Middle Tennessee area for 25 years or more and who have made outstanding contributions to their society in education, community service, black arts, sports or as advocates of civility.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Ray Fite, delegate to district association ministries and state convention as well as many other duties for Cherry Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Murfreesboro;

  • Marva Hudspeth, retired alcohol and drug treatment counselor and volunteer at Mt. Pleasant Middle School’s Kindle Club and Mt. Pleasant Historical Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee;

  • Jo Anne Gaunt, financial secretary of Berry Chapel AME Church in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and recipient of the Distinguished Toastmaster Certificate from Toastmasters International;

  • Joe Herbert, Rutherford County, Tennessee, educator and administrator for more than 40 years and advocate for educational equity;

  • The Rev. Robert D. James, pastor of St. John United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, former assistant principal at Murfreesboro’s Riverdale High School and three-time NFL Pro Bowler as a Buffalo Bills defensive back from 1969 to 1974;

  • The Rev. H. Bruce Maxwell, pastor of Lake Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, for 40 years and Board of Trustees member of Belmont University in Nashville;

  • Russell D. Merriweather, volunteer for AARP in the Nashville area and 2010 recipient of Tennessee’s AARP Andrus Award for Community Service;

  • Albert Nelson, minister, Sand Hill Church of Christ in La Vergne, Tennessee, a member of Friends of Bradley Academy, a support group for Murfreesboro’s Bradley Academy, and a mentor to fifth- and sixth-grade boys through a Delta Sigma Theta program;

  • Florine Ratliff, MTSU alumna and teacher for 30 years at Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School in Murfreesboro.

A printable campus parking map is available at Parking space will be reserved for honorees in the Student Union parking lot. An attendant will be in the lot for assistance. Guests may park in the Rutherford parking lot. Shuttle service to the Student Union will be provided.

For more information, contact Daniel Green, director of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs and chair of the MTSU Black History Month Committee, at 615-898-5812 or

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