Valparaiso University Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. with Annual Celebration

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Week of events begins Thursday, Jan. 15

For more than 20 years, Valparaiso University has celebrated the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., and this tradition continues with a weeklong celebration Jan. 15–23.

The 2015 events honor the theme “Hope, Action, Change” through speakers, presenters and activities that promote the respect and value of diversity on campus as well as within the broader community through dialogue and discourse, art and music and food and faith.

Events include:

  • Artistic works by Northwest Indiana students on display in the Harre Union. A reception and awards ceremony, featuring a performance by local folk band Shades of Gray, is Thursday, Jan. 15, 5 – 7 p.m., in the Harre Union.
  • Community Conversations focusing on Ishmael Beah’s novel “Radiance of Tomorrow” throughout Valparaiso on Friday, Jan. 16, noon – 1 p.m. Visit valpo.edu/mlk/conversations for a complete list of venues and to register.
  • A Martin Luther King Jr. Day Convocation Service at the Chapel of the Resurrection on Monday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m. The service celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and features keynote speaker Ishmael Beah, award-winning author of “A Long Way Gone.” In addition, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award will be presented to Larry Baas, professor of political science and international relations, Zahra Nwabara, director of admissions for the Law School, and the men’s soccer team and their coach, Mike Avery.
  • A luncheon featuring a Q&A with keynote speaker Ishmael Beah following the Convocation Service in the Harre Union Ballrooms. Luncheon tickets cost $12 and are available at the Harre Union Welcome desk or online at valpo.edu/union for will-call pickup.
  • Several focus sessions featuring a variety of topics, including a session with Richard Morrisroe, a Civil Rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and co-founded the Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Ala. Visit valpo.edu/mlk/sessions for a complete list of focus sessions.
  • A closing program featuring Joanne Bland on Monday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. in the Christopher Center Community Room. Bland is the co-founder and former director of the Naitonal Voting Rights Museum in Selma and began her civil rights activism in the early 1960s, marching on “Bloody Sunday,” “Turn Around Tuesday,” and the first leg of the successful march from Selma to Montgomery.

The Law School will also host several events at Wesemann Hall. The annual “Talk to a Lawyer Today” event is Monday, Jan. 19, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. On Thursday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m., Terry Smith, of DePaul University College of Law, will speak on “From King to Obama: Cycles of Backlash and the Fire Next Time.” The MLK Mock Congressional Debate, focusing on the riots and protestor experiences related to events in Feruson, Mo., is Friday, Jan. 23, 4 – 6 p.m.

For additional information, visit valpo.edu/mlk or contact Kristen Knoerzer at kristen(dot)knoerzer(at)valpo(dot)edu or 219.464.6270.

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About Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,500 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 26 years. Valparaiso University offers more than 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering and Nursing and Health Professions. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a Law School, and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Studies. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness and dedication to serving others.

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Kristen Knoerzer
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