WMU News

Campus readies for 10th MLK Day celebration

January 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- With a theme of "Courage to Live the Dream: Commitment, Community, Opportunity," Western Michigan University has scheduled more than 35 free public events and activities to celebrate the birthday Monday, Jan. 18, of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Events will begin with an all-University convocation at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, in Miller Auditorium, where President Elson S. Floyd will provide welcoming remarks. The featured speaker will be choreographer David McKayle, a King/Chavez/Parks visiting artist in dance from the University of California at Irvine.

A portion of McKayle's "Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" will be performed by students in the Department of Dance. The convocation also will include a duo piano presentation and singing by the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Choir. The Rev. Antonio D. Benitez of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kalamazoo will provide closing remarks at the convocation.

President Floyd announced Sept. 10 that MLK Day for the first time would be a University holiday. Previously, classes were canceled for the observance but the University remained open. This is the 10th year that WMU officially has recognized the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.

"It is my hope that all members of the University community will use the opportunity of this holiday to come together to honor Dr. King's dedication to equality and freedom for all persons," Floyd said. A continuing resource on King is a Web page on MLK at WMU that was developed by the University Libraries and its Archives and Regional History Collections. It is available from WMU's MLK Web page at <www.wmich.edu/mlkday>.

Other major events include:

Many other events and activities honoring King's birthday are listed in the Calendar of Events (Click on "Events" at the top or bottom of this page).

The University's observance of King's birthday is being coordinated by the MLK Day Committee of the Faculty Senate through the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations. The committee is chaired by David M. Lyth, industrial and manufacturing engineering, and includes students, faculty members and staff members.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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