MLK commemoration calls for celebration, action; Bond keynote speaker

University Park, Pa. — Penn State's University Park campus will honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. with a message urging all to "Celebrate the Legacy, Act on the Dream," during its 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.
The commemoration will be highlighted by the Evening Celebration from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 in Eisenhower Auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Julian Bond, chairman of the board of directors of the NAACP and a servant for social change, dignity, peace and freedom for the past half century.
Founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Bond organized voting drives and sit-ins. An elected member of the Georgia House of Representatives, Bond was denied his seat by legislators until the intervention of the United States Supreme Court. Co-chairman of an insurgent delegation to the 1968 Democratic Convention, he became the first African-American to be nominated for vice president of the United States.
Tickets for the evening celebration are required, but free. They are available on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Eisenhower Auditorium; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Penn State Tickets Downtown in the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center, 146 S. Allen St., State College, Pa.
King often spoke of what the legacy would be of those striving for justice, as well as his dream of equality. The theme of this year's commemoration, chosen jointly by a campus and community committee and a student committee, asks community members to embrace those ideas in celebration and action.
Senior graphic design student Veronica Clauss of Lake Ariel, Pa., captures the theme in a literal interpretation, with her design for the 2011 poster image (pictured at right).
"Before I began designing this poster I looked up the definitions for 'celebrate' and 'legacy,'" said Clauss, whose design was chosen from among submissions by graphic design students in a class led by Lanny Sommese, distinguished professor of graphic design. "'Celebrate' is to observe a day or event with ceremonies of respect, festivity or rejoicing, and a 'legacy' is something received from a predecessor or from the past.
"I made a list of ways to show celebration -- confetti, balloons -- but the one thing that pushed the idea of celebration was fireworks. There was one picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in particular that I thought was very moving, so I took the silhouette of him -- the legacy -- and placed an overlay of fireworks to push the celebration aspect even further."
Students have a holiday from classes on Monday, Jan. 17, the observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but many will commit the day off to serving the community during the annual Day of Service from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., beginning in Heritage Hall of the HUB-Robeson Center. Community members can sign up to volunteer at
"One of the greatest ways we can carry on Dr. King's legacy and celebrate his message is to make a positive impact in our own community," said Marcus Whitehurst, associate vice provost for Educational Equity and chair of the MLK Commemoration Committee. "Each year our students do just that by volunteering their time and energy to local service projects."
The Day of Service will conclude with the annual Social Justice Dinner from 7-9 p.m. in Heritage Hall.
Whitehurst applauded the members of the MLK Commemoration Student Planning Committee, including executive director Elsa Mekonen and administrative director Cesaré Jordan, for their effort throughout the fall to develop the events for this month's commemoration.
"Our student committee is instrumental in making the commemoration a positive event, one which carries an impact well beyond just this month," Whitehurst said. "Elsa, Cesaré and the students who have planned and coordinated this year's events have committed countless hours and done tremendous work in creating these opportunities to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy."
A Peace March will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19, beginning at 4 p.m. at Pollock Commons and concluding with a program and reception at the Pasquerilla Spiritual
For a complete list of MLK Commemoration events and additional information, visit
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Last Updated October 04, 2011