Brandon Fleming to speak at Luzerne County Community College commencement

Mark Guydish, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·2 min read

May 4—NANTICOKE — Harvard Diversity Project founder Brandon P. Fleming will tell his story at the Luzerne County Community College spring commencement May 27, LCCC announced Monday.

In a 2019 interview for blackenterprise.com, Fleming said he was a struggling student with learning deficiencies who dropped out of school at 18 and worked on a factory assembly line. He battled depression, attempted suicide and decided to re-enter college.

He was recruited to join the Harvard University debate faculty at the age of 26, according to an LCCC media release, and proposed to establish a new department called the Harvard Diversity Project, "an unprecedented pipeline program that the Harvard Debate Council adopted as its subsidiary."

"Fleming recruits underserved youth with no prior debate experience who he then trains to compete against hundreds of elite debaters from more than 25 different countries around the world," the release says. "For three consecutive years, since the program's inception in 2017, every cohort trained by Fleming has won the international competition, with one group achieving an unprecedented undefeated record as global champions."

As founder and CEO of the Harvard Diversity Project, Fleming leads a staff and board credited with raising "$1 million to enroll more than 100 students of color into Harvard's international summer debate residency on full scholarship," according to the release.

"Fleming has established a groundbreaking organization that is pipelining Black youth into Ivy League and elite colleges and universities. His students have now matriculated to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and others higher education institutions on full scholarship. Fleming's story, erudition, and achievements have enabled him to use his voice to inspire and impact lives in places ranging from federal prisons to global platforms such as the United Nations General Assembly. At the age of 29, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, LCCC has scheduled three ceremonies May 27: 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. All three will be held at Mohegan Sun Arena.