Known for her grace, wisdom and influence for leading one of the most popular African-American women’s magazines, publishing legend Susan L. Taylor will be the featured speaker at the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series of the University of the Virgin Islands. Her presentation is titled, “Women and Health: the Search for Balance.” Taylor will speak at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, at the Reichhold Center for the Arts on UVI’s St. Thomas campus. She will also speak at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. Both lectures are free and open to the public. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Taylor is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built as its fashion and beauty editor, editor-in-chief and editorial director for nearly three decades. For 27 years she authored one of the magazine’s most popular columns, “In the Spirit.” She was the first African American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award—the industry’s highest honor—and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame. Taylor is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
Born to West Indian parents, the fourth-generation entrepreneur grew up in Harlem working with her father in his women’s clothing store. She founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence. She is the author of four books: “In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor;” “Lessons in Living;” “Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives;” which she coauthored with her husband, Khephra Burns; and her most recent, “All About Love, Favorite Selections from In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly.” She is much sought-after to inspire hope and encourage people to reclaim their lives and create sustainable communities.
Taylor is an avid supporter of organizations dedicated to moving the Black community forward, including the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which she founded in 2006; co-founder of Future PAC, the first national political action committee devoted to providing a network of support and sources of funding for progressive African-American women seeking federal and state-level political offices; and co-chair with Danny Glover of Shared Interest, a capital campaign to raise money to build housing in the rural areas of South Africa. She also serves on the boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Taylor has worked passionately to help restore the lives of people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region that were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
After the lecture there will be a question and answer segment, followed by a book signing of Taylor’s latest book. UVI will also unveil its new female initiative.
The Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series offers the public a setting in which to hear nationally and internationally recognized individuals discuss issues related to the challenges and opportunities faced by the global community. The series is the University’s way of recognizing and celebrating the outstanding person and accomplished citizen that is Dr. Alfred O. Heath. As a UVI trustee emeritus and chair of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Heath is an ardent, longtime supporter of the mission of the University.
For more information about the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series, call UVI’s Special Events Coordinator Liza Margolis at 693-1053.