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Department: Alumni Relations

Edward Cates to present 4th annual Hayes Lecture

October 13, 2014

Every Hornet has a story, and Emporia State alumnus Edward Cates will use the story of his aspirations and accomplishments to inspire today’s students when the marketing executive delivers the fourth annual Sam E. and Jeannene Hayes Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2014.

Cates, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 1995 communications with a minor in political science, will speak on “Owning Your Legacy of Leadership.” The public is invited to the free event, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Webb Hall.

Emporia State students attending the lecture are eligible to apply for one of five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded next spring. The inaugural Hayes Lecture speaker, Doug Smith and his wife, Nan, of Leawood, Kansas, provided funds to create the scholarships.

To be eligible for a scholarship, students must attend the lecture and complete a scholarship application, which includes a series of essay questions. The deadline for the submissions is 11:59 p.m. Friday and recipients will be selected by the Blue Key Leadership Honor Society.

As an undergraduate at Emporia State University, Cates was involved in Associated Student Government — serving as vice president in 1993 — as well as Black Student Union and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He served as a White House intern in the Office of Advance & Scheduling during the Clinton administration and served on the Emporia State Alumni Association board of directors from 2005 to 2008.

After graduation, Cates embarked on a 10-year career at Bank of America followed by Carter Brothers LLC in which he was an executive in marketing, communications and supplier diversity roles. Desiring more entrepreneurial experience, Cates founded Nuance Marketing in 2007, a marketing, communication and advertising agency in Stockbridge, Georgia, south of Atlanta.

“It is overwhelmingly the most rewarding experience to create and work on innovative projects for a customer that I believe in and who believes in my agency,” said Cates, who serves as CEO and managing partner for the firm and is responsibility for its direction and strategic growth.

Cates’ philosophy is characterized by “listening to the client to meet them where they are and take them where they want to go.” By following that, the agency has built up a blue-chip clientele that includes Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Avis Rent-a-Car and Delta Air Lines.

An advocate for diversity and inclusion, Cates’ articles on business, politics and supplier diversity have been published in Savoy magazine, Hispanic Network Magazine, MBE magazine and Minority Business News USA. In 2009, Cates was named “Minority Business Advocate of the Year” by the National Counci of Asian American Business Associations.

During his time at his alma mater, Cates will meet with student leaders and present in leadership, marketing and communications classes.

Dr. Sam Hayes (BS 1962) of Mission Hills, Kansas, and his wife, Jeannene, established the lecture series as a way to engage Emporia State’s alumni in highlighting their successes. Individuals whose leadership qualities, skills and accomplishments have led to distinction are featured in each annual lecture.

Sam Hayes served as chair of the ESU Foundation Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2003.

The Blue Key Honor Society contributes and acts as the primary planning group for the pre-lecture dinner, which recognizes the speaker and all who made the event possible, as well as the lecture and scholarship process. For more information on Blue Key or any contributors for the Hayes Lecture Series, email Blue Key Honor Society at

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