Unity Celebration Award Nominations

MTSU announces 2023 Unity Luncheon Honorees

Middle Tennessee State University will honor five Middle Tennessee “unsung heroes” who’ve served their communities faithfully during the upcoming 27th annual Unity Luncheon on the Blue Raider campus.

A traditional part of the university’s Black History Month events, the event returns this year to its traditional luncheon format on campus and is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the MTSU Student Union Ballroom, Second Floor, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

Keeping its familiar theme of “Where There Is Unity, There Is Strength,” the luncheon will feature keynote speaker JB Smiley Jr., Attorney, Memphis City Councilman, and founding member of Smiley and Associates, PLLC. 

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

  • Education: Dr. Marva Lucas
  • Excellence in Sports: Stacy Windrow
  • Advocate of Civility: Rev. Dr. Michael McDonald
  • Community Service: Joe and Sybil Rich
  • Commitment to Black Arts: Vanessa Alderson

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.

Nominations must only be submitted in one category. If you have questions regarding the appropriate category for your nomination, please feel free to call 615-898-5812.

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.