Category Archives: #BBUM

Be My Guest at Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2014

david tarver

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

For the past several months, I’ve been leading a talented team working to bring an important event to our area! Finally, this event is just around the corner — it’s the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium taking place on October 10, 2014.  Momentum is building, and we’re hoping you’ll attend and help us spread the word by emailing a personal invitation to your friends and colleagues. We have provided a template below.

Click here to get your own  ticket — space is limited! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at the event.


You are cordially invited to attend the 2014 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium.  Join us as representatives from business, education, government, and communities gather to explore ways to apply entrepreneurship to benefit urban communities.

Key topics at the seminar will include:

  • Proven methods for engaging urban communities to determine needs, and for translating those needs into products and services
  • Vivid examples of sustainable, scalable, and disruptive businesses that are solving important urban problems
  • Student-led business ideas that show promise for changing the urban social and economic landscape.
  • Strategic, legal, and financial support systems needed to ensure the success of urban entrepreneurs.

The morning keynote speaker is Dr. Jeffrey Robinson from the Rutgers University Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED), a leading figure in the urban entrepreneurship movement.  The luncheon will feature a talk by Jill Ford, special assistant to the mayor of Detroit for entrepreneurship initiatives.

The event is free, but space is limited.  Visit for tickets and see attached flyer for printing.

Friday, October 10, 2014
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
1000 Beal Ave.  ▪  Ann Arbor, Michigan   ▪  48109

Thank you!

David Tarver named to U-M Electrical and Computer Engineering Council (ECEC)

Dr. Khalil Najafi, Chair, U-M Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Khalil Najafi, Chair, U-M Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The purpose of the University of Michigan Electrical and Computer Engineering Council (ECEC) is to foster excellence in all areas of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) research and teaching, provide strategic guidance to ECE faculty and leadership, and strengthen relationships among ECE faculty, students, alumni and corporations, foundations, and government agencies with ECE-related interests. Continue reading

Charles White, 2013-14 Fred and Louise Tarver Scholar

Charles White and me in November, 2013

Charles White and me in November, 2013

Charles White of West Bloomfield, Michigan is the 2013-2014 Fred and Louise Tarver Scholar. This fall, Charles will begin his junior year in the U-M College of Engineering, but first he will spend the summer on an internship at Intel Corporation in California. Charles is an outstanding student and a delightful young man. He’s going to make huge contributions to the profession.

Video: David Tarver Speech at U-M MLK Spirit Awards, January 20, 2014

On January 20, 2014, David Tarver was privileged to speak to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) North Campus Community at the annual Martin Luther King Spirit Awards event. His address walked the audience through the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s as seen through the eyes of “a kid from Flint, Michigan.” He touched on the impact of the civil-rights movement, and the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, on our past, present, and future. The core message in his address was that Dr. King helped to set the template for our humanity, and that that template is more important than ever in an age of rapid social, cultural, and technological change.

#BBUM: Being Black at University of Michigan

I have been watching with much interest the twitter posts of students, faculty, and administration under the #BBUM hashtag. Why? Because I was once and again #BBUM: a student, in the 1970s, and a faculty member, now. Exactly forty years ago, I was completing my first semester at U-M, after transferring there from General Motors Institute, now Kettering University. My arrival on the U-M campus came in the aftermath of much upheaval, including the Vietnam war protests and the Black Action Movement strikes. My black classmates and I endured many insults, questions, and accusations during those times, but we were somewhat comforted by the idea that we were carrying on an epic civil rights struggle, and that life would be much better for the generations of students who would follow us. That’s why it is heartbreaking to read that many of the negative things that happened in our day are still happening now. Surely all is not terrible now, and all was not terrible then, but students and professionals alike need a supportive circle of colleagues in order to thrive, not just a few supporters here and there. U-M must continue to work to create and enhance an environment that values and supports black students, not one that makes them feel undeserving and unwelcome.

The author as a U-M student, circa 1973

The author as a U-M student, circa 1973

I was fortunate. I had family members who imbued me with the sense that I could and would succeed no matter what. Despite being made to feel unwelcome, questioned, and accused by some at U-M, I graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and went to work at AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. Despite sometimes being made to feel unwelcome and undeserving at Bell Labs, I achieved what I needed to achieve there, and left after seven years to start a technology company with two African American colleagues in the basement of my home. Twelve years later, we sold that business, of which we owned 100%, to a British firm for $30 million. I would say that we indeed proved our marketplace value.

The author as U-M faculty, today.

The author as U-M faculty, today.

I certainly don’t say the above to brag. I say it to make a point: despite what you are experiencing, use your time at U-M to get the knowledge and understanding you need to move forward. Connect with those supportive people in the environment and make them part of your circle. Let them support you, and you support them. Keep your eyes firmly focused on the prize: a career in which you can make a difference in your community and in this world.

My U-M experience made such a heavy impression on me that I made it the subject of an entire section of my book, “Proving Ground: A Memoir.” If I was writing that section today, I would call it #BBUM, and I would call the entire book #BBIA: Being Black in America. I have included one chapter here that tells of an injustice I suffered at U-M, and how I managed to correct it. I could have included much more.

Hope you enjoy the read. You can also click on the book image to get more information about it.

Stay strong!

Proving Ground chapter 16 – Cheated

For more info, click the book! cover!

For more info, click the book cover!