logo and main navigation container

Alex Lee Leadership Lecture Series

The Charles M. Snipes School of Business & Economics of Lenoir-Rhyne University in partnership with the Alex Lee Foundation has announced its speakers for the 2017 Alex Lee Leadership Lecture Series. Speakers will share their individual experiences and insights as successful leaders. All presentations are scheduled for Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. in the Fintel Room of the McCrorie Center.

The Alex Lee Leadership Lecture Series offers a unique opportunity to attend MBA level lectures and to learn from influential professionals both locally and nationally. The series is designed to help participants understand the dynamics of leadership and identify their own administrative traits and capabilities.


All events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. For more information, email Clem Geitner or call 828.328.7346.

Download the series poster.

Series Schedule

Feb. 15, Dr. Fred Whitt

Dr. Fred Whitt, President - Lenoir-Rhyne University

Dr. Whitt brings over 30 years of successful leadership experience in higher education to the University. He previously served as Founding Dean of the Beaver College of Health Sciences at his alma mater, Appalachian State University. He has served as Dean since 2010 when he was appointed to lead the development of the first new college at Appalachian State in over 40 years.

Dr. Whitt earned his Doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and his Master or Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Appalachian State. Prior to joining Appalachian State, he served as Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia Southern University from 1992 to 2010.

March 1, Meg Jenkins Locke

Meg Jenkins Locke, Chief Engagement Officer (CEO) – Carolina Moon Hospitality

Hospitality expert, Meg Jenkins Locke, brings life to the traditional Southern welcome in Hickory. As the owner of Carolina Moon Hospitality, Locke nurtures her lifelong passion and commitment for service with over 30 years of experience in the tourism and restaurant industry. She has been a longtime activist for consistent growth and sustainability in the greater Hickory area and is well known as an energetic community leader. Carolina Moon Hospitality encompasses Highland Avenue Restaurant, The Crossing Events Venue, and the Groucho’s Deli locations in Hickory and Rock Hill, SC.

March 8, Steve Hunt

Steve Hunt, Chief of Staff of Safety, Security, and Health and Executive Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs – Catawba Valley Community College

In a law enforcement career that spanned three decades at the Hickory Police Department, Steve Hunt rose from rookie police officer in 1975 to criminal investigator and later became the first African American commander to retire from the force. He retired in 2004 and accepted an instructor position with CVCC in the criminal justice program and later served as director of the college’s Public Safety Training program. In 2008, he was named the executive director of the college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs. Hunt earned both an associate and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice as well as an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate, the highest award achievable in law enforcement.

April 5, Danny Hearn

Danny Hearn, Past President & CEO – Catawba Valley Chamber of Commerce

Danny Hearn began his career with the Chamber of Commerce as a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne in 1973 beginning as an intern and then a full-time associate after graduation. After serving the communities of Norfolk, VA and Rockingham and Statesville, NC, he returned to Catawba County in 2004 where he served for 12 years as President & CEO of the chambers in both Hickory and Statesville. Hearn retired in September 2016 after a distinguished 44 year professional career dedicated to building better businesses and communities. He is a graduate of the US Chamber Foundation Institute of Organization Management at the University of Georgia, Athens and recipient of the Certified Chamber Executive designation.

April 19, John Bray

John Bray, CEO – Vanguard Furniture, Inc.

Following a distinguished military career in the U.S. Marine Corps, John Bray joined a promising furniture start-up in 1970, rising through the ranks to CEO and chairman of Vanguard Furniture Co. Inc. He has been instrumental in advancing digital technology and improving employee healthcare in the furniture industry. He also helped establish the Catawba Valley Furniture Academy which provides training and increased employment opportunities to hundreds of workers. In 2011, Bray was recognized as Business Man of the Year by the Lenoir-Rhyne University Business Council. He has also served as chairman of the board of directors of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the High Point Market Authority. In 2016, he was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame.

April 26, Scott Millar

Scott Millar, President – Catawba County Economic Development Corporation

Scott Millar has served the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation since 1993 and as president since 1998. He is a current member of the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s board of directors. He is past president of the North Carolina Economic Developer’s Association and past member of the North Carolina Economic Development Board. He was recognized as NC Economic Developer of the Year in 2010. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Millar received the professional designation of Certified Economic and Community Developer in 1996. Prior to accepting his current position, he was employed with the NC Department of Commerce and spent five years in the advertising field.