Martin Luther King, Jr. Honored with Week-Long Celebration

USF Students planning community event, Stampede of Service, Saturday and Martin Luther King III to lecture on Jan. 20.

 

 

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2011)—The University of South Florida’s Division of Student Affairs is honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., America’s iconic champion of racial equality and justice, with a series of student-focused educational and community service events, starting Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Tampa campus.

 

With its first decade of operation as a racially integrated university coinciding with the impactful civil rights movement of the 1960s, USF has a 50-year history of valuing and cultivating cultural and ethnic diversity, as well as social justice.  The university’s culturally rich campus and its engagement in the Tampa Bay community exemplify King’s values in a higher education environment.

 

“Dr. King’s non-violent fight for racial equality, justice and the end to poverty in our country helped to change our nation’s mindset — a legacy that lives on today,” said Jennifer Meningall, vice president of Student Affairs.  “This week, we have a special opportunity to reflect with our students and the entire university community how Dr. King’s revolutionary work impacted society and their lives—and, hopefully, ignite students’ desire to carry on his work here in our community and wherever they may go after graduation.”

 

One of the highlights of the week is the visit and lecture of Martin Luther King III on the closing day of the commemorative week. 

 

“We couldn’t ask for a more fitting tribute to the man whose image graces the heart of our campus than the presence of his son at this significant time of year,” said USF President Judy Genshaft.  “It is an honor to welcome Martin Luther King, III to the University of South Florida.  I know he will find a receptive audience for his important message of hope and inspiration.”

 

Launching the week of celebration, the first event is one of USF’s most attended annual traditions, Stampede of Service. Initiated in 2006 by student Maxon Victor to honor Dr. King, this one-day event introduces students to social issues and the importance of community service. On Saturday, Jan. 15, 8 a.m., more than 3,000 student volunteers will convene in the USF Soccer Stadium before being dispatched to approximately 60 Hillsborough County based organizations to engage in day-long service projects.

 

Tuesday, Jan. 18, students and the campus community are invited to an MLK Dedication at the university’s MLK Plaza at noon until 1 p.m.  The beautiful plaza in the heart of the campus features a bust of King, a reflecting pool and fountains, and a wall of tablets etched with the infamous “I Have a Dream” speech.  Additionally, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Centre Gallery in the Marshall Student Center will host a special photography exhibition, “And Freedom for All,” that includes 48 unpublished photographs of King’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

 

The Centre Gallery in the Marshall Student Center will also be the location for the showing of the movie, Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 19.  Bayard Rustin, best known for organizing King’s 1963 march, offers a compelling story about the silenced side of the 1960’s civil rights movement as an openly gay black man.

 

The University is honored to conclude the week of celebration with an MLK Convocation featuring keynote speaker Martin Luther King, III, Thursday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.  King has carried on his father’s work as a human rights advocate, community activist, and political leader, motivating audiences around the world with his poignant message of hope and responsibility.

 

All events scheduled for Jan. 18 - 20 are free and open to the public.  For campus information, including driving and parking directions, visit USF’s Web site, www.usf.edu.  For more event information or questions, please visit the event website or contact Renee Svec, director of communications and marketing, Division of Student Affairs, (813) 974-5383 or svec@usf.edu.