Stedman Graham (left) with Chancellor and Mrs. Allen Meadors
In an address on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, motivational speaker and best-selling author Stedman Graham challenged students to reach their potential
He spoke as part of UNCP's continuing Black History Month celebration. He appeared at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Awards Banquet.
Graham presented awards to student organizations for their service to the community. The North Carolina Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and the UNCP Office of Student Activities sponsored the event.
Graham's leadership development programs are used by major corporations, and his New York Times best selling book, "You Can Make it Happen," explains his nine-step plan for personal success.
"The greatest gift in the world is being able to be what you want," Graham said. "In this country, you have the ability to do and be anything, but the question is do you know how?"
"For a long time, I let the world define who I was because of where I came from, or because of my race," Graham said. "You may need to eliminate all of that junk."
Graham is from nearby Lake Waccamaw and was raised in New Jersey. He is an adjunct professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Mike DeCinti, with WNCP-TV, interviews Graham
The tall and athletic-appearing Graham is also well known as Oprah Winfrey's "significant other." He lectures around the world about escaping society's labels and making and rising towards your own.
"Being in a relationship with a strong woman is tough," Graham said. "I've got to define myself because all of you already have a preconceived notion of who I am."
Graham delivered his message to a gathering of 30 students. He also appeared on WNCP-TV, UNCP's television stations and signed books at the University Center following the banquet.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity took first place and $300 for the most hours of community service at the Maxton Youth Opportunities program. The Interested Ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, the university's first Latin sorority won second and $200 for their work at the Palmer drug prevention program. The African American Student Organization came in third for their work with the Reading Rainbow program in Scotland and Robeson counties.