Hickory – Lenoir-Rhyne University will commemorate the life and memory of the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17. LR faculty, staff, students and community members will continue its tradition of honoring King through two events, reflecting on the things that were important to King – diversity and equality for all the citizens of the United States.Lenoir-Rhyne University Hosts Community MLK

“This year’s MLK celebration is a time to reflect on how we can truly transform the lives of our young people to make a greater impact on their communities,” said Terry Phillips, director of multicultural affairs.

The events at LR are designed to engage and inspire community and university members and help them envision ways to carry forward King’s work in a manner relevant today.

Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the university will host “The Dream and Work Continues” presentation at 10 a.m. in P.E. Auditorium. The in-person event is open to the public and features LR faculty, staff and students, including the A Cappella Choir singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black national anthem in the United States. The hymn features lyrics by James Weldon Johnson set to music by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson.

William M. White, chief executive officer and co-founder for The National Diversity Collaborative, Inc., is the keynote speaker for the celebration. A collaborative scholar and practitioner, White co-founded the organization in response to the increased divisiveness in society.

An advocate for social justice, White is a highly sought-after speaker who has given keynote addresses at hundreds of national and state conferences and is the author of multiple books and articles. His professional career includes work as a research chemist and executive in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as several leadership positions in higher education. White is the former dean of Mountain State University’s School of Graduate Studies in Beckley, West Virginia. He also is the founder and CEO of The Management Development Group, a California corporation that specializes in organization development consulting, and he worked for more than 15 years as an adjunct professor and course designer for the University of California at Davis.

White, a native of Bluefield, West Virginia, graduated from Bluefield State College, a historically Black college, with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and minor in mathematics. He earned a doctorate in leadership and change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. He also holds a graduate certificate in management and leadership from Harvard University. In addition, White is a lifelong United Methodist and holds leadership positions in the church.

Later in the day, LR will host a student showcase that includes creative expression for a campus celebration of King’s life. The event, set for 5 p.m. in the Cromer Center Dining Hall, will interweave King’s role in the civil rights movement with music, poetry, visual arts and theater. This event is for LR students only.

Additional information can be found at calendar.lr.edu.
William M. White