Penn State campus communities to commemorate, celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

January 11, 2021

Editor’s note: This story will be updated with new events as they are added.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State campus communities will honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with virtual events and activities on MLK Day, Jan. 18, and more.


Jan. 15, at 5-6:30 p.m., Zoom — The Penn State community is invited to attend the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Celebration, hosted by Hosted by Penn State’s Forum on Black Affairs, and being held virtually this year. This year’s theme is “Project 1972: A Conversation with Our Elders,” a virtual panel discussion including Penn State staff and faculty who worked at the University in the height of the Civil Rights movement and members of the University’s class of 1972, who were freshmen in 1968 — the year that Dr. King was assassinated. More information is available here.

Jan. 18–22 — The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Student Committee at Penn State will honor King's life and legacy with a series of events and activities through the week, as part of this year's theme: "Radical Revolution: Speaking the Language of the Unheard." Visit the committee's website for more information, including how to participate. Events include:

  • Jan. 18 — MLK Jr. Day of Service
  • Jan. 19 — The Student Restorative Justice Initiative and World in Conversation host Debate Series: Round 1: "The Rally for Reform."
  • Jan. 21 — Evening Celebration, Part 1: Talk and Q&A session with Michelle Alexander, writer, civil rights advocate, and visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary.
  • Jan. 22 — Evening Celebration, Part 2: "Art and Activism" with American rapper, poet, and record producer Noname.

Jan. 18, at 3:30 p.m., Zoom — In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Gender Equity Center will be hosting a workshop, "Victim Survivors at the Margins: Power, Misogynoir, and Civil Rights," on the intersections of race and power-based interpersonal violence and a discussion about the experience of BIPOC women and marginalization in the Civil Rights and Feminists movements. Register for the workshop here.


Jan. 18 – 27 — Abington's Student Engagement and Leadership Office has partnered with Penn State Brandywine to provide programming starting on Jan. 18. All events are available on Engage.

  • Jan. 18 — MLK Celebration Kickoff; Movie Night: "Selma"
  • Jan. 19 — Panel: "Race, COVID-19 & Inequality"
  • Jan. 20 — Presidential Inauguration Watch Party
  • Jan. 21 — Trivia Competition
  • Jan. 25 — Film/discussion: "Unnatural Causes"
  • Jan. 26 — Living Room Conversation
  • Jan. 27 — Movie Night: "Just Mercy"


Jan. 18-22 — In honoring Dr. King's life and legacy, Penn State Altoona encourages its students, faculty and staff to be of service to others and their communities. Throughout the week, consider writing cards to nursing home residents, veterans, healthcare professionals, or those fighting illness. Collect food, supplies, and/or gift cards for a local food bank or animal shelter. Volunteer your time and labor for a community project or even for a neighbor in need. Find more examples of ways to volunteer online.  Students may post photos of themselves engaging in service using #HonorMLKAltoona and/or log your service hours on Connect for a chance to win a gift card.


Jan. 18 — Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, will discuss social justice activism, including the Black Lives Matter movement, in an online forum that will open Penn State Behrend’s 2021 celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. The Jan. 18 program, which will be hosted on Zoom, is free and open to the public. More information is available here.


Jan. 18, beginning at 6 p.m. — Virtual event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year’s theme is "Socially Just Leadership," with keynote speaker Rev. Delphine Allen, administrative pastor of Spring Valley Church in Temple, Pennsylvania. Berks students will be recognized with the MLK Award during the event.

Jan. 18, at 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; and Jan. 22, 1–5 p.m. — A virtual Public Dialogue Facilitation workshop will be offered to train Berks campus students in the techniques of leading discussions about sensitive topics for community engagement and building. Coordinated by the Berks Diversity Committee.

For more information for either of these events, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of diversity and international programs, at


Jan. 18–27 — Penn State Brandywine’s Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement will host a series of virtual events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including a presentation of the film "Selma"; panel discussions with Brandywine faculty and staff; and  viewing and discussion of a segment of the PBS documentary "Unnatural Causes," among others.

The programs are presented in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, whose 2021 theme is “Justice and the COVID-19 Health Crisis,” and co-sponsored by Penn State Abington’s Student Engagement and Leadership office. More detailed information about the events is available here.


Jan. 18, at noon Penn State Harrisburg will debut a performance of “Provenance” in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year marks the 23rd year for the campus play series, which each year presents an original production centering on African-American history in celebration of the MLK Day holiday. The performance, which was staged and filmed at the Mukund S. Kulkarni at Penn State Harrisburg, will be available for viewing on the college’s YouTube channel for the entire week.

Jan. 19 through Feb. 9 — The Penn State Harrisburg Diversity and Educational Equity Committee is hosting a MLK Day graphic design contest, open to Penn State Harrisburg students only. Submissions will be accepted Jan. 19 through Feb. 9, with the winner being announced on Feb. 25. The contest, titled "The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Design Contest: Black Social Justice Trailblazers," will announce a winner on Feb. 25. Harrisburg students can find submission guidelines on the DEEC website.


Jan. 22, at 12:15 p.m. — In recognition of King’s life of service, Lehigh Valley is hosting “Be a Service Super Hero.” This event will share info on King’s dedication to service of others and introduce a new semester-long program, a collaboration between Student Affairs and the Community Heroes service club. The program will identify ways that Penn State Lehigh Valley students can get involved in community service as part of the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus community. Discussion will include the values related to service and helping others.


Jan. 18 — The Mont Alto campus is a community sponsor of the Franklin County Coalition for Progress’ MLK Day of Service. Students, faculty and staff can register for this free event.

Jan. 18, through the semester —  Penn State Mont Alto is continuing its programming on diversity and inclusion through the spring 2021 semester. MLK Day will serve as the kickoff for the Race, Equity, and Action series, supported by a grant from Barnes and Noble. Read more about the series, here.


Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. on Zoom — Penn State Scranton will honor the enduring legacy of the late Martin Luther King Jr. while recognizing the campus’ own commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with a virtual presentation of its sixth annual MLK Day Celebration. The free event is open to both the campus community and the general public. Learn more here.


Jan. 18–22, at noon, on Zoom — Penn State Wilkes-Barre will be hosting a Virtual Video and Discussion Series, featuring four of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches. While most everyone may be familiar with King's "I have a dream" speech in Washington D.C., many may not know of his other presentations. Featured will be: the transcript of King's 1965 speech at Rec Hall on Penn State's University Park campus; his speech titled "What's Your Life's Blueprint?"; his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech; and King's Last Sunday Sermon. Events will be held at noon on Monday, Jan. 18; Tuesday, Jan. 19; Thursday, Jan. 21; and Friday, Jan. 22. They can be accessed via Zoom at this log in: 5706759284.


Jan. 18, at 10:45 a.m., livestreamed — The Penn College community is invited to participate in a virtual Peace Walk this year, accompanied by speaker Raphael Mnkandhla, lead pastor of City Church in Williamsport. Participants can access STEP AmeriCorps’ Facebook page to join virtually.

Last Updated April 15, 2021