Past Conferences

2016 Honors Conference

On March 31, 2016, the conference speakers and panelists, faculty and student facilitators, and student presentations focused on social entrepreneurism, including businesses and organizations that include human, social, and environmental responsibility and philanthropy as part of their business and organization plan.

Recent Conference Speakers
In 2016, Bethany Joy Clark shared her story about TOMS—“a mission with a company.” She was later joined by local social entrepreneurs for a panel discussion, and Richland students also spoke about social entrepreneurship.

Bethany Joy Clark (Keynote Address and Panelist)
As lead Ambassador and former Director of Community for one of the world’s most inspirational brands, Bethany Joy Clark plays a key role in the world of TOMS — and what a growing world it is. The One for One® company now gives to people in need in over 70+ countries, and sells its products (shoes, eyewear, handbags and coffee) in 100+ countries. Bethany’s work focuses on guiding and supporting individuals and groups to create positive change in their communities.

Suzanne Smith (Panelist)
In 2009, Suzanne Smith founded Social Impact Architects, a registered Benefit Corporation, to reshape the business of social change. She combines her MBA know-how with two decades of experience as a nonprofit innovator to serve as a consultant, advisor and thought partner. She is also a highly sought-after public speaker at conferences nationwide, including being selected as a featured speaker at TEDxTurtleCreekWomen, and teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas. In this work, she has pioneered open-source frameworks for the creation of better social solutions, including layered logic models, ecosystem mapping and social alchemy.

Justin Nygren (Panelist)
Justin Nygren is co-founder and managing partner of The Grove, North Texas’ social-impact focused co-working community. His strengths are focused in connecting people to the relationships and resources they need to pursue their dreams. He is currently leading efforts to launch the North Texas chapter of Unreasonable Labs, a 5-day hyper-accelerator for social entrepreneurs developing for-profit companies which address the systemic issues that prohibit human flourishing.

Devang Jhaveri (Panelist)
Devang “DJ” Jhaveri is an entrepreneur and independent technology, product strategy and marketing consultant based in Richardson, TX. He specializes in helping Fortune 500 clients bridge the gap between strategic business objectives and aligning technology initiatives to achieve those goals.

Aline Torres (Panelist)
Aline is a Dallas resident, artist, and recent graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Biology. She was involved in genetic research before she turned her attention to creating art-glass and volunteering at an east Texas goat rescue farm, which saves abandoned goats and turns their milk into artesian soaps.

Honors student presentations:

  • Muhamad Madhat “Online Social Marketplace”; Ezra Calado “Spending Ourselves to Death”; Egxona Ferati “The Question is not ‘Is it Possible?’ It is ‘Which Path to Take?’”
  • Qurrat-ul-ain Gul Muhammad “We Support Education”; Ashton Self “The Sky is No Longer the Limit”; Ezra Calado, Muaz Mohammed, and Mitchel Mike-Nmoka “Crowdsourcing Social Responsibility: A Digital Companion for Refugees”

This program is supported in part (approximately 50%, or approximately $2,500) by a grant (PO31L150024) from the US Department of Education, with the remainder (approximately 50%, or $2,500) provided from non-federal sources.

2015 Honors Conference

On March 20, 2015, the conference speakers, faculty and student facilitators, and breakout sessions focused on Human Rights issues, including health, education, culture, politics, and social justice.

Recent Conference Speakers

In 2015, Bill Holston and Luis Lemus provided the Honors Conference Keynote Address, and Rick Halperin provided the Honors Conference Plenary Address. Richland students also spoke about a variety of Human Rights issues.

"The Long and Winding Road:The Path to Becoming a Human Rights Lawyer"

Bill Holston became the Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative of North Texas in January 2012. Since 1987, Bill has provided pro bono legal representation for political and religious asylum applicants. Over the years he had clients from 20 countries in Immigration Court or before the Houston Asylum office. He volunteered his services to Human Rights Initiative of North Texas since the organization was founded in 2000. Bill is a Richland College graduate. His former client, Luis Lemus, escaped gang violence in El Salvador to come to this country.

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"There is no such thing as a lesser person."

Professor Rick Halperin is Director of the Southern Methodist University Embrey Human Rights Program (, and teaches courses at SMU including: America’s Dilemma: The Struggle for Human Rights; America and the Age of Genocide; and America Enraged: From Brown to Watergate, 1954-1974. Halperin has served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1989-1995, and from 2004-2009; he served as Chair of the Board from 1992-1993 and again from 2005-2007. He is also a member of the National Death Penalty Advisory Committee, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (serving as President from 2000-2006 and from 2007-2008).

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