University Park events honor, celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy

January 10, 2019

Editor’s note: Check back often — this story will be updated as events are added.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State community will honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. during the 34th annual MLK Commemoration at University Park, with events during the month of January.

Thursday, Jan. 10-Feb. 27

Exhibit: MLK Week Student Poster Designs — Sidewater Commons, first floor Pattee Library

Twenty posters accompanied by each student’s artist statement now are on display in the annual University Libraries exhibit. Students created designs based on the 2019 MLK Week theme, “Where Do We Go From Here: A Tradition of Resistance,” during the Fall 2018 graphic design course GD 400: Time and Sequence.

Tuesday, Jan. 15

44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet — Bryce Jordan Center

On King's birthday, the 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet, presented by the Forum on Black Affairs, will celebrate King’s legacy and recognize members of the community who make a difference through King’s belief of advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. Tickets for the banquet usually sell out quickly; more information is available here.

Monday, Jan. 21

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., meet at Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

Join us for the MLK Jr. Day of Service. We will start in Alumni Hall with breakfast, a warm welcome and an educational piece, and then split up to go to sites on campus and in the State College community. Participants should be sure to wear warm clothes in case they will be outside. T-shirts and food will be provided. Check-in for individual students is first come, first-served, until all sites are filled.

Film Screenings — 9-4:30 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

University Libraries will host multiple screenings of two short films, beginning approximately on each half-hour on a rotating basis, starting at 9 a.m. with “Martin Luther King Jr. Day: The Making of a Holiday” and concluding with the 4:30 p.m. showing of “Martin Luther King Jr.: Look Here."

Concert: Essence of Joy — 2:30 p.m., Franklin Atrium, 1st floor Pattee Library

The student choir Essence of Joy, led by artistic director and conductor Gregg Mauroni, will perform a few musical selections on Jan. 21. Essence of Joy is a choral ensemble in the Penn State School of Music that performs sacred and secular music from the African and African-American traditions

World in Conversation pilot program

On Jan. 21, MLK Day, World in Conversation will expand its regular programming by partnering with the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity to offer facilitated dialogues for 600 faculty, staff, administrators and students. Each of the 60 groups is 90 minutes long and will include participants from each of these four populations.

Conversations will be at 10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Preregistration is required and is first-come, first-served. To register and for more information visit https://worldinconversation.org/mlk/.

Tuesday, Jan. 22

King Birthday Remembrance — 6 to 8 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, downtown State College

In collaboration with State College Borough, join others at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza for a moment of remembrance of King’s birthday (Jan. 15, 1929), and then to Federal Taphouse for hot chocolate.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza State College

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown State College.

IMAGE: State College Borough

Film: “Sorry to Bother You” — 7 to 9 p.m., 112 Kern Building

Named one of the top independent films of 2018 by the National Board of Review and the New Yorker, this genre-bending satire looks at the intersecting worlds of modern call centers, economic globalization, race relations, and efforts to unionize workers. The film is co-sponsored by the Sustainability Institute and the Center for Global Workers’ Rights.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Poetry Slam: "More Than a Dream…" — 7 to 8 p.m., State College High Cafeteria

All middle school-to-high school students are encouraged to submit a poem or an essay based off the topic, “More Than a Dream…” Submissions are due by Jan. 14 at midnight. Guidelines are available here. All participants are invited to perform their poem or essay at the Poetry Slam on Jan. 23, where 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place winners will be announced. The event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, Jan. 24

Talking About Class (Workshop for Faculty and Staff) — 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., 312 Agricultural Engineering Building

“Talking About Class” invites Penn State faculty and staff to explore their class identities and engage in cross-class dialogue. This highly interactive workshop will also include conversation and reflection on how class dynamics play out here at Penn State and what strategies faculty and staff can pursue to make the University more equitable for students. This workshop will be led by two facilitators from Class Action and is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

Registration is requested.

Talking About Class (Workshop for Students) — 6 to 8 p.m., 312 Agricultural Engineering Building

“Talking About Social Class” invites Penn State students to explore their social class identities and engage in cross-class dialogue. This highly interactive workshop will also include conversation and reflection on how class dynamics play out here at Penn State and what strategies we can pursue to make the University more equitable. This workshop will be led by two facilitators from Class Action and is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

Registration is requested. Pizza will be provided.

Peace Meal – 5 p.m., 7 Henderson Building

The Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council invites student organizations to participate in the Peace Meal, bringing students from diverse backgrounds together to cook and enjoy a meal while having great conversation. Sponsored by the Department of Nutrition and the College of Health and Human Development, this cooking/eating/community-building event aims to bring people from different backgrounds together to connect over food, focusing on what we have in common, the need for physical nourishment, rather than what we don't.

Find out more and sign up here. Spots are limited. Contact Tina Thomas, tct2@psu.edu, with questions.

“Speak for Peace” — 6 to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:40 p.m.), Heritage Hall, HUB-Robeson Center

During this oratorical contest, student contestants will recite their essays live in front of a panel of judges for a chance to win a book scholarship. This event will also feature performers and an educational component that aligns with the theme. No tickets are required; seating and food will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, Jan. 25

Annual Evening Celebration, sponsored by the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Committee — 5:30 to 8 p.m., Schwab Auditorium

This culminating student-run event of the week will celebrate King’s life and legacy through various performances and distinguished speakers covering the topic of student activism and the theme of “Where Do We Go From Here: A Tradition of Resistance.” Speakers to be announced; visit mlk.psu.edu for more information.

Please note: Tickets are not available prior to the event and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Student Scholarships and Faculty/Staff Award

The 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Committee has also announced two student scholarships and a faculty/staff award:

  • Applications for the scholarships, named in honor of two prominent civil rights activists — American novelist and social critic James Baldwin, and journalist, educator and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells, are now being accepted here.

For additional information about the student committee’s commemoration events, visit mlk.psu.edu or follow the committee on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Across the Commonwealth

In addition, Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth will be holding Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative events, including Penn State AltoonaPenn State Behrend, Penn State Berks, Penn State Brandywine, Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Hazleton and Penn State New Kensington.

Last Updated January 16, 2019