Unity Celebration Award Nominations

MTSU announces 2024 Unity Luncheon Honorees

Middle Tennessee State University will honor Middle Tennessee “unsung heroes” who’ve served their communities faithfully during the upcoming 28th annual Unity Luncheon on the MTSU campus.

The Unity Luncheon is a traditional part of the university’s Black History Month events. The Unity Luncheon is a ticketed, banquet style luncheon set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in the MTSU Student Union Ballroom, Second Floor, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

Under the theme of “Where There Is Unity, There Is Strength,” the luncheon will feature keynote speaker Dr. Cary Holman, Ed.D, Director of Schools for the Franklin County School District. 

This year’s Unity Luncheon honorees and their categories of recognition include:

  • Education: Kool Club Scholarship Founders, Edd Hill, Stanley Murphy, and Collier Woods
  • Advocate of Civility: Dr. Patricia Harlan
  • Community Service: Sharonese Henderson
  • Commitment to Black Arts: Johnie Payton

This year the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame will also be joining us to induct three prominent Tennesseans into their Hall of Fame. 

The Unity celebration is a tradition that has been around since 1996 to honor “unsung heroes” across the Midstate age 50 or older who have lived in the area for two decades or more and have made outstanding contributions to their community. Almost 130 residents have been recognition since its inception.

Category Details


This award recognizes an outstanding educator who has shown remarkable dedication and excellence to students and fellow educators. He/she are active in the community. 

Community Service

This award recognizes a person who has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to public service. He/she has dedicated time and energy to community service endeavors that have made positive contributions to individuals and/or organizations.

Advocate of Civility

This award recognizes a person who have taken meaningful steps to promote a more civil public discourse and who epitomize the highest professional standards of civility.

Excellence in Sports 

This award recognizes a person or team regardless of gender of sport that made a significant, groundbreaking contribution in the realm of activities that transcendent during that era.

Contribution to Black Arts

This award recognizes a person who has excelled in the area(s) of music, dance, theatre and/or visual arts. This award is ideal for someone who has pronounced dedication to the arts and has freely shared their talent to enhance the Black Community or represent the community in a positive way.