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Paying it Forward – YSU Diversity Leadership Celebration


Landau Murphy Jr. spreads message of paying it forward

WKBN Staff

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Friday was a night to showcase not only student leadership, but to help spread the message of paying it forward.

The Youngstown State University Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs presented the 2015 Diversity Leadership Recognition Celebration, honoring YSU students for their contributions on campus. The event was held at Stambaugh Auditorium.

The added bonus for the event was a performance by 2011 America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

“Paying it forward. That is what Landau has been doing. He is a good example for our young people, whether it is high school or college age. And grown folks continue to pay it forward,” said Dr. Sylvia J. Imler, interim director of the YSU Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

Murphy said his success should help inspire others.

“I feel my blessing has been a blessing to me and it should be a blessing to other people. When they asked me to come out and do this function, and we sat down and talked about it, actually in my concert in West Virginia, we decided to make it happen,” Murphy said.

This year’s scholarship recipient and Diversity Award winners also were proud of Murphy’s message.

“Acceptance and actual recognition for the work you put in, is more than words can describe,” said James MacGregor, who won the Leader of Tomorrow award.

“It is more rewarding to give back. Even a plaque or award does not mean anything. It is just the human connections, human relationships you make with other people,” said Catherine Cooper, who won the Leadership Scholarship.

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National talent winner to play Stambaugh

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By Dan Martin




YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Music lovers in the Mahoning Valley will soon have a chance to listen to some classic songs with a new spin.

A one-of-a-kind concert and dinner will double as a fundraiser to help minority students go to Youngstown State University.

When Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. opens his mouth to sing, like at a recent performance in Greensburg, Pa., no one expects what comes out.

“As soon as I walk out, they think they are going to hear hip hop or Motown, but my wow factor was coming out with Frank Sinatra,” Murphy said.

Millions of music fans are already familiar with the crooner. Murphy won season six of “America’s Got Talent” in 2011 at the age of 36. Now 40, he is taking his talents on the road, recording two albums and touring with gifted musicians around him.

Murphy will bring his unique voice and story to Youngstown’s Stambaugh Auditorium in March.

“I saw how many smiles I was putting on people’s faces and audiences were getting bigger and bigger,” Murphy said.

Before “America’s Got Talent,” Landau said he was just a “regular guy,” washing cars and doing charity work in his home town of Logan, W. Va. But it was time spent as a kid on the basketball courts of Detroit where Murphy found his voice.

“A lot of kids were getting killed on the playgrounds because of trash talk and things like that. So, after I dunked on you, or made you feel embarrassed, I would say (sung) “Fly me to the Moon” and it just saved a lot of kids’ lives including my own,” Murphy said.

Before his show in Youngstown, there’s a dinner where YSU will present its 2015 winners of Diversity Leadership Awards and minority scholarships.

Landau said he never graduated from high school, which is something he regrets to this day. Now, he said he wants to be the “Pied Piper” for students to stay in class, saying his life would have been easier had he stayed in school.

Murphy said following his dream and listening to God got him where he is today. Even a million-dollar prize and a Columbia recording contract couldn’t keep him from moving back home to West Virginia. He said it keeps him grounded.

Tickets for the Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. concert and the YSU Diversity scholarship dinner go on sale Friday. The show is March 27. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the concert is at 8 p.m. Tickets are required to attend the concert and dinner.

Find more ticket information here. 

Click here to purchase tickets beginning Friday, Jan. 2.

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