Friday, April 12, 2024

Unity Luncheon limelight lands on keynote speaker Cary Holman


Share post:

Featured Photo from Hannah Carley

Story by Hannah Carley

Middle Tennessee State University hosted its annual Unity Luncheon on Feb. 8. The event is designed to celebrate “unsung heroes” of the middle Tennessee community, according to the university’s website.

This year’s keynote speaker was Cary Holman, who received a standing ovation after his speech.

Holman earned his master’s from and served as an adjunct professor at MTSU. Holman’s academic achievement does not end there, as he earned a doctorate in education from the American College of Education. President Sidney McPhee and retired professor Gloria Bonner welcomed Holman to the stage.

As she introduced the keynote speaker, Bonner remembered teaching Holman in the Franklin County school system. “He was brilliant, respectful, kind, generous,” she said.

In March of 2023, Holman’s career-long dream became a reality when he learned he’d been named the Director of Schools for Franklin County. This year, Holman enters his 28th year in education. He’s spent his career working at every level to realize his goal. He started as a student in Franklin County, then, years later, quickly climbed the ranks to principal. 

“A willing mind desires to see the mountains moving, but a determined mind can move it,” Holman said.

Holman’s formative years were in a seven-sibling, single-parent home. At the Unity Luncheon, Bonner acknowledged the speaker’s mother and attributed his values to her hard work.

“He got that from his mother, Ms. Trisha Holman, who’s here with us today.” 

Bonner also applauded Holman’s spirituality which put him at a “brighter wattage,” she said, than his siblings. Holman is now an ordained minister and associate pastor with Believers Faith Fellowship.

“I’m now back in the same county in which I grew up in and have the opportunity to go back home and serve as the director of schools,” said Holman.

Hannah Ferreira is a contributing writer for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact News Editor Alyssa Williams and Assistant News Editor Zoe Naylor, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X and Instagram at @mtsusidelines.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

Related articles

School voucher program promises results but faces significant resistance

Featured photo by Kailee Shores Story by Hannah Ferraria If you want more news like this, sign up for the Sidelines...

Lizzy McAlpine’s new album is not for the faint of heart

Featured photo by Lizzy McAlpineStory by Kaleigh Young Lizzy McAlpine, recently known for her song “Ceilings,” just released...

Off to see the wizards: two costumed students captivate a crowd

Story by Shauna Reynolds Photos by Noah McLane If you want more news like this, sign up for the Sidelines...

Crime rates in Tennessee’s 10 biggest cities, ranked

If you want more news like this, sign up for the Sidelines weekly newsletter here! Find it in your inbox...