Copeland to bring a message of inspiration

Published 8:36 pm Monday, February 11, 2013

Beaufort County Community College will observe Black History Month by presenting an inspirational speaker at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Columbus Copeland will deliver his remarks in the auditorium of Building 8 on the BCCC campus.
The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by Men of Success, a male-mentoring club at BCCC. The club’s goal is to promote achievement among the college’s male minority students.
The program will inspire attendees to work hard to achieve their goals in life, according to Daniel Wilson, director of admissions and recruitment at BCCC and adviser to the club.
“Dr. Wilson and I started talking, started a relationship over the phone. He asked me if I would come there to be involved with what they have going on,” Copeland said Monday in a brief interview. “I liked what he had to say and watching the things he was doing about his vision. I always like to talk with someone about their vision. People of vision — that’s what really gets me going. He talked about his vision of developing his program for young men, and I want to be a part of it.”
Copeland said he believes he’s an effective speaker and motivator because he’s lived what he teaches.
“I actually believe it’s very unique how we became in contact. … He actually reached out to me and introduced himself as a dynamic speaker who traveled the country and likes to inspire people and move them,” Wilson said Monday in a brief interview. “He wanted to speak to someone that was actually working in the type of environment that I am. I told him I was the one he could talk to. He sat down and gave me a proposal. He talked about coming into this area and do a couple of speeches in this area.”
Wilson said he then explained the Men of Success program at BCCC to Copeland.
As a child growing up in the South, Copeland dreamed of playing college basketball and earning a college degree. Despite his receiving numerous honors and awards for his athletic ability, Copeland wasn’t recruited by college coaches because of his poor grades and low SAT scores.
Copeland did not let his poor academic performance prevent him from realizing his dream. On his own, he began writing and calling college coaches, asking them to give him a chance. Ultimately, that determination was rewarded, and Copeland went on to play basketball and earn a bachelor’s degree from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo. Before that, he played basketball at Emmanuel Junior
College in Franklin Springs, Ga.
Copeland’s presentation, “Keeping the Dream Alive,” is in recognition of Black History Month.
“As I travel though the country, it saddens me to see so many people who stopped dreaming and are living below their potential, especially our youth,” Copeland said in a news release. “My goal is to create and build something that will have a positive influence on people’s lives.”
After graduating from college in 1984, Copeland began work with the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. There, he worked with the Job Training Partnership Act. In that post, he helped hundreds of people enroll in college, receive job training and obtain employment.
Copeland moved to Charlotte in 1988 to accept another position but, six months later, he lost his job and found himself in a similar situation to the one he had spent four years helping others avoid.
After being rejected time and again, Copeland decided to create his own job — starting an employment recruiting and placement-consulting firm. Many of the same companies that rejected him for employment became his clients.
In 1995, Copeland entered the field of inspirational speaking and personal development training, and, in 2011, he started a foundation in his hometown in honor of his high school basketball coach.
Copeland wrote the book “The Art of Overcoming: Workplace and Life Strategies.”
For more information about the program, interested persons may contact Daniel Wilson at 252-940-6233. For more information about Columbus Copeland, visit

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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