Colmon Elridge III, executive assistant to Gov. Steve Beshear, will be the keynote speaker at Union College's annual Spring Convocation.
Elridge's speech, entitled "The Righteousness of Servant Leadership," will be at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in the Conway Boatman Chapel on campus. Union College President Marcia Hawkins, who was impressed by Elridge at a prior meeting, said his speech should provide students the inspiration they need to start the spring semester with high expectations.
"I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Elridge in Gov. Beshear's office, and I immediately understood how this young man could accomplish so much so early in his career," Hawkins said. "His charisma is undeniable, and his eloquence in speech validates all the important messages he has to tell."
Elridge, who is one of the youngest members of a governor's senior staff in Kentucky's history, has recently gained national recognition. In 2011, he became the first African-American to become executive vice president of the Young Democrats of America, following an election he won unanimously. In 2010, Elridge was appointed to finish out the term for then-Executive Vice President Rod Snyder. Elridge has also served as vice president for the Young Democrats of America.
In 2000 he became the first African-American to be elected president of the College Democrats of Kentucky and then went on to serve as the chairman of the Minority Caucus for the College Democrats of America.
Through his work with the governor's office, Elridge has taken on many responsibilities concerning the state's capitol. Besides managing day-to-day operations of the office of the governor, Elridge has also helped create and implement policy initiatives concerning children's health insurance, eradicating high school dropouts and forging relationships between the public sector and faith-based communities.
Elridge is a native of Cynthiana, Ky., and attended Transylvania University, where he received his degree in history, with a minor in education. He now lives with his wife, Victoria, and their two sons in Lexington, Ky.