Several Purdue events planned to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

December 23, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Several activities at Purdue University next month will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 2015 celebration, with the theme The Fierce Urgency of Now, will begin Jan. 15 with Purdue Memorial Dining Services distributing free slices of birthday cake in the Purdue Memorial Union and Purdue residence halls.

Among the highlights will be the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address by Mark Lamont Hill, a journalist, author, activist and television personality, at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15 in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. Hill is a host on Black Entertainment News and HuffPostLive, as well as a political contributor to CNN. He also is distinguished professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College. The author of three books, he was named one of America's 100 most influential black leaders by Ebony Magazine in 2011.

Hill's talk will be preceded by a 6 p.m. candlelight vigil and march from Purdue's Black Cultural Center to Loeb Playhouse, hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

In addition to Hill's commemorative talk, the Purdue Dreamer Award will be presented on the evening of Jan. 15 at Loeb Playhouse. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization in the Purdue community whose contributions embody King's vision of service to others and furthers the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion. Nominations for the award are being accepted until Dec. 31. More information, including submission forms and a list of previous recipients, can be found at, or contact Carolyn E. Johnson, director of the Diversity Resource Office, 765-494-7307,

 "We have put together a variety of programs that we think will help people learn more about and reflect on the life and urgency of Dr. King," said Renee Thomas, director of the BCC and co-chair of the Martin Luther King Planning Committee. "The offerings include lectures, service, learning opportunities, discussions and a film. We are excited that several academic colleges have also planned programs in tribute to Dr. King."

Some other celebration highlights:

* Jan. 19. MLK Day of Service, coordinated by Boiler Volunteer Network. Open to Purdue students, faculty, staff members and retirees. Volunteers will spend time with community service agencies in Tippecanoe County, including those that work with animals, children, seniors, health care and the homeless. Participants will meet at 8 a.m. at the France Córdova Recreational Sports Center. Registration is available at

* Jan. 20. 12-1:30 p.m. Pfendler Hall, Room 241. A screening of "Skin Deep," a documentary about college students nationwide dealing with the reality of race relations today in America. The documentary will be followed by an interactive discussion led by Kip Williams, professor of psychological sciences. Attendees can bring lunch and food donations for Food Finders. Sponsored by the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Awareness Week.

* Jan. 21. 12-1:30 p.m. Pfendler Hall, Room 241. Guest Panel: Our Champions for Change. Panelists will discuss character building, social responsibility, public health disparities, diversity-sensitive policies, collaboration and awareness efforts. Panelists include Jim Penny senior director of the National diversity Council; Shana Scott, a legal consultant for public health issues; Dennis Kennedy, founder of the National Diversity and National Women’s councils; Susan Hyatt, associate professor of anthropology and philanthropic studies in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at Indiana University; and Lorri Morgan, president and CEO of Morgan MultiMedia and president of the Diversity Roundtable of Central Indiana. Attendees can bring their lunch and food donations for Food Finders. Sponsored by the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Awareness Week.

* Jan. 21. 4-7 p.m. Third Street Suites. Disability Fair Day. The event is a collaboration of Purdue 360, Alpha Xi Delta, Autism Speaks and the Disability Resource Center.

* Jan. 22. 12-1:30 p.m. Pfendler Hall, Room 241. Keynote address of the Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Awareness Week. Michael Fosberg will perform "Incognito," the solo show that he wrote. While attending Northwestern University, Fosberg founded the Small Change Original Theater where he produced, wrote, and directed. He has served as the director of education for the Living Library Theater and been on tour with his show since 2001. He has performed at several high schools, colleges, corporations, and military bases throughout the country.

* Jan. 15-21. Purdue Libraries faculty and staff will create and mount displays on a variety of topics related to King's legacy in libraries across campus.

* Jan. 23. 12-1:30 p.m. Pfendler Hall, Room 241. Brown bag lunch and interaction with the Purdue Police Department. Purdue police will discuss safety on and around campus as well as the their relationship with Purdue and the Greater Lafayette community.

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, 

Source: Renee Thomas, 765-494-3091, 

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