Denison didn’t hold regular classes on Monday, Jan. 21—but there was no interruption in teaching and learning. There was a service fair, an all-campus lunch, a community convocation, and a series of “teach-ins” for what has become the college’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, an interfaith service commemorating Dr. King was held Sunday evening in Swasey Chapel.
As reported by Emily Maddern in The Newark Advocate, University President Dale Knobel said during the convocation ceremony that the day’s programs were designed to do more than just commemorate King, but to also call members of the community to action.
“We do want to recognize King,” Knobel said, “but we worked hard to make this forward-thinking, to look at King’s unfinished legacy and how we all play a part in it.”
After moving performances by students, faculty and staff of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and the historical hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Knobel referenced the idea that “all politics are local,” saying the creation of a just world is local, too.
As reported in the Advocate, a panel of Denison alumni who have committed to making a difference in the community demonstrated the impact of civic engagement by speaking about their own experiences.
Coral Breuer ’11 of Ohio Campus Compact, Jeremy Blake ’12 of the South Newark Civic Association, and Tamela Collins ’89, who is chief operating officer with Girl Scouts of Ohio Heartland’s Council joined Professor Lyn Robertson ’70, director of Denison’s Alford Center for Service Learning, for a rousing panel discussion on positive change-making, getting to know our neighbors, and developing pride and hope by working together.
The problems facing communities are often too big for just one person. “We’re only individuals,” Blake told the crowd in Swasey Chapel. “But together, we’re a force.”
And speaking of individuals who make a big impact, President Knobel was surprised during the convocation with recognition from the MLK Celebration Committee for his years of service at Denison and for providing leadership at the college and in the community in the spirit of Dr. King’s values and his legacy.
- Read Emily Maddern’s engaging account of Denison’s MLK celebration, along with Michael Lehmkuhle’s photo gallery, in the Newark Advocate.