LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a celebration Monday, Jan. 21.
“The KU and Lawrence community is invited to join us on campus to both honor Dr. King and think about what we can do to realize his vision for ourselves and our nation,” said Fred Rodriguez, vice provost for Diversity & Equity. “It will be a time for reflection, but more importantly a time to celebrate his legacy.”
The celebration will begin in the Strong Hall rotunda at 4:30 p.m. A reading will be followed by a candlelight vigil that will proceed on foot to the Kansas Union. Events in the Kansas Union will take place in the Big 12 Room and include refreshments and entertainment provided by KU’s Blue Jazz.
At 5:30 p.m., The MLK Program will begin in the Big 12 Room. The program includes a welcome by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter and a keynote address by Blane Harding, director of the KU Office of Multicultural Affairs.
In addition, winners of the Lawrence MLK essay contest from elementary, middle and high schools will read their winning essays, and KU’s Inspirational Gospel Voices choir will perform.
Keynote speaker Harding was hired July 2 following a nationwide search. He came to KU from Colorado State University, where for the past decade he served as director of Advising, Recruitment and Retention for the College of Liberal Arts and as the university’s prelaw adviser. Harding has taught courses in African-American history and ethnic studies for the past 21 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Communication from SUNY at Brockport and his master’s degree in 19th century American history from Colorado State University.