2019 MLK Legacy Celebration

For the past several years, Wheaton has celebrated the incredible legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the beginning of the spring semester, as students are away on the national holiday and the college is closed on that day (this year, January 21).

Events on campus bring together the whole community to honor the life and legacy of one of the most inspiring and visionary people in American history. The date for this year’s MLK Legacy Celebration is Thursday, February 7.

One of the highlights of the activities surrounding the celebration is the award ceremony that will occur on the evening of February 7 at 7 p.m. in Cole Memorial Chapel. This year’s keynote speaker will be playwright, actor and educator Anna Deavere Smith. Smith is world-renowned for using theater to explore issues of community, character and diversity in America.

Tickets to the talk are free and available for students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, parents, friends of the institution and local community members, but they must be reserved in advance.

Each year at this event, the college also honors two members of the community with Wheaton’s prestigious MLK Legacy Award. This award recognizes one student and one faculty or staff member who, through their actions and leadership, are helping the Wheaton community to live in a manner that is consistent with Dr. King’s values.

As noted by The King Center, MLK Day honors: “The timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.”

To submit a nomination, email President Dennis M. Hanno with the nominee’s name and one to two paragraphs about why you think this person deserves to be recognized in this way. All nominations should be submitted by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22. The selection committee includes the President’s Council and past award recipients.

Past faculty and staff award winners include: Dean Raquel Ramos, Professor Peony Fhagen, and Professor Dolita Cathcart. Last year’s student award winner was senior Musa Ali.

Another highlight of the Celebration is the Creativity Showcase, where the college shares and celebrates student creative work that offers tangible reflection on King’s philosophies and principles of equity, justice and/or peace. There are prizes for the top submissions, and a selected few will be shared with the community before the keynote address on February 7.

The Creativity Showcase will be on display at Emerson Dining on February 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a reception for contest entrants at 3:30 p.m.

Watch for information soon from The Marshall Center and the Diversity & Equity Access Leadership (DEAL) Programming and Education Committee about the submission process and deadlines for the Creativity Showcase.