Across the conference, universities pay tribute to MLK: BTN LiveBIG

Purdue University

Across the conference, universities pay tribute to MLK: BTN LiveBIG

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Across the Big Ten, students, faculty, alumni and staff strive towards Dr. King’s dream of not just educating students, but creating people of character. At no time is that more apparent than on and around January 16th, the day we celebrate the man and his mission.

We highlight that commitment to character by taking a look at how a few of the universities are making sure that MLK Day is not simply another day off, but a day of reflection and service.



The University of Michigan’s 2017 MLK Symposium is a festival of events that stretches from January 13th to February 22nd. Featuring keynote speakers Issa Rae, a Golden Globe-nominated writer/director, and investigative journalist Amy Goldman, the symposium offers concerts, art exhibits and a number of open discussions on topic of race, social justice and equality.



With the theme “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” Purdue University’s MLK celebration spans a week and includes an address by actor, singer and social activist Harry Belafonte. Kicking off the event is a day of service across Tippecanoe County. There will also be a screening of the documentary Black Purdue, which explores the struggle for equality for black students at the university.



Since the early 1980’s, the University of Minnesota has honored the legacy of Dr. King with a musical tribute. Started by the late Reginald Buckner, who served as a professor in the School of Music, these concerts are free and open to the public. 2017’s MLK tribute takes place on January 19th a features Grammy-nominated singer and actress V Bozeman along with the University of Minnesota Jazz Combo.



Beginning the Friday before MLK Day with a countywide celebration, the University of Illinois honors the civil rights icon with service, speeches and art. Echoing Dr. King’s commitment to eradicating poverty, the School of Social Work is providing community members a firsthand look at the realities of life below the line with their poverty simulation. The week of events is capped off on Thursday the 19th with an evening of speakers and songs at the Krannert Center of Performing Arts.



A youth rally and march through downtown Lincoln heralds the opening of the University of Nebraska’s Martin Luther King Jr. Week. On Tuesday the 17th, students and staff from the UNL Office of Academic Service and Intercultural Services will participate in a discussion of the late Rev. Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream’ speech and what that “dream” looks like now. The week comes to a close on the 20th with a banquet hosted by the Afrikan Peoples Union.


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