The search committee for a chief diversity and inclusion officer was tasked last November with identifying an innovative and inspiring leader who would work collaboratively to create a more welcoming, diverse, accessible and inclusive community. Nearly 200 talented individuals expressed…
‘The King Legacy in the Soul of Our Community’ is the theme for SU’s 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
‘The King Legacy in the Soul of Our Community’ is the theme for SU’s 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. CelebrationJanuary 13, 2005Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
The 20th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be held in Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome on Sunday, Jan. 23. The celebration, “The King Legacy in the Soul of Our Community,” will feature a keynote address by Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University and a well-known speaker on, and advocate for, education; choral music by a mass choir and by SU’s Black Celestial Choral Ensemble; and the presentation of the 2005 Unsung Heroes Awards.
The evening celebration will be preceded by a Symposium with the Community at 3 p.m. in SU’s Maxwell Auditorium. The symposium is a twin event to the Nov. 5 Inaugural Symposium that was held in honor of SU’s 11th Chancellor and President, Nancy Cantor. A special gallery of community members from Central New York was invited to view the Nov. 5 symposium. This gallery has been invited back to participate in the Jan. 23 Symposium with the Community by engaging in dialogue on the barriers that keep us from moving forward to eradicate racism and opening genuine opportunity for all Syracuse citizens. A reception will follow the symposium.
The evening program in the Carrier Dome begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets for the dinner, which precedes the program at 5:30 p.m., are sold out. For more information, call Hendricks Chapel at 443-5044.
Keynote speaker Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University in July 2001. During her tenure, she has launched an ambitious initiative to enrich Brown’s academic core, as well as an initiative to ensure that diversity informs every dimension of the university.
She advocates on behalf of education and its ability to encourage “excellence, daringness of mind and scholarship,” and celebrates the moments of discovery that educators evoke in their students. “If there is anything I can bring to higher education, it is a constant reminder of the need to bring children from the margins to the center, constantly redefining the center so that our democracy remains strong,” Simmons says.
In 2003, Simmons appointed a Committee on Slavery and Justice at Brown to organize academic events and activities to encourage the Brown community to think about the questions raised by the national debate over slavery and reparations.
A native of Texas, Simmons received a bachelor’s degree from Dillard University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has held leadership positions at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College, and served as president of Smith College from 1995-2001.
In recent years, she has written and delivered papers or presentations on a wide array of educational and public policy issues, including institutional governance, diversity, liberal arts, science education and the role of women in society. She is the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships, including the President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund (2001) and the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2002). She was selected as a “Person to Watch” by Newsweek magazine (2002), a “Woman of the Year” by Ms. magazine (2002), and “America’s Best College President” by Time Magazine in 2001.