The Syracuse University and greater Syracuse communities will come together on Sunday, Jan. 19, to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), will be the keynote speaker for SU’s 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “Pursuing the Dream: Above All Odds” in the Carrier Dome. The annual celebration is the largest University-sponsored event in the United States to commemorate King.
The evening program begins at 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets for the dinner, which precedes the program at 4:30 p.m., are $25 for the general public and $15 for students without meal plans. Students with meal plans will be charged for one dinner. Student tickets are available at all residence hall main desks and dining centers at meal times. For students without meal plans, $15 tickets are available through Hendricks Chapel.
Tickets are available by calling Hendricks Chapel at 315-443-5044. They will also be sold in the atrium of the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center Tuesday, Jan. 14-Thursday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Sunday’s celebration will include musical selections from the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble and the SU 2014 MLK Community Choir. Student performers will include Black Legacy, Creations Dance Company and Nu Rho Poetic Society.
The 2014 Unsung Hero Award will be presented to Joseph Bryant, Debra Person, Georgia Popoff and Dorothy Russell.
Hrabowski will take part in invitation-only sessions with SU students and faculty prior to the evening celebration. He has served as president of UMBC since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.” He was named by President Barack Obama in 2012 to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
In 2008, he was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s No. 1 “Up and Coming” university the past five years (2009-13). U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” in 2013. TIME magazine named Hrabowski one of America’s “10 Best College Presidents” in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012. In 2011, he received both the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Carnegie Corp. of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, recognized by many as the nation’s highest awards among higher education leaders.
Also in 2011, he was named one of seven “Top American Leaders” by the Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for his contributions to improving the human condition, and was among the inaugural inductees into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.
A child leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, “Four Little Girls,” on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church.