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Villanova University Hosts Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Jan. 17-20

The observance also includes a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service with on-campus “Dream Camps” and the annual Freedom School

VILLANOVA, PA., Jan. 13, 2011 – A Day of Service and keynote address focusing on the myths of African-American Advancement will highlight Villanova University’s four-day Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration Jan.17-20 to honor the life and work of the iconic civil rights advancement leader. The Jan. 19 address, given by Stanford University professor and Villanova alumna Dr. Monica McDermott, is free and open to the public. Events kick off with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 17 and conclude Jan. 20 with Villanova’s annual Freedom School, offering more than 20 sessions focusing on topics surrounding Dr. King’s work and achievements. The four-day observance is co-sponsored by Villanova’s Center for Peace and Justice Education.

 Events kick off with a “Day ON, Not a Day Off” – of service – Jan. 17, beginning at 8 a.m. About 500 volunteers from the Villanova community will give back at various sites both on and off campus as part of City Year and the 16th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. One of two on-campus “Dream Camps” will integrate First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. Elementary school students from Sanoka Freedom Academy and Discovery Charter School in Philadelphia will come to Villanova's campus to participate in various sports camps. The students will be working with Villanova's athletes and will learn about healthy eating habits while eating a healthy lunch.

Dr. Monica McDermott, VU ’93, will give the keynote address, “Sports, Shooting and Scholarships: Myths of African-American Mobility” on Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. Dr. McDermott is an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University whose research focuses on the ways in which race and class interact in the contemporary United States.

On Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Driscoll Auditorium, a group of high school students from North Philadelphia will present “Prejudice + Power = Oppression,” a workshop examining the intricacies of human prejudice. The students, who have been trained at Temple University to give workshops at colleges and universities, will use dialogue to learn empowerment to take action against oppression.

Thursday, Jan. 20, concludes the celebration with the Freedom School, sponsored by Villanova and its Center for Peace and Justice. More than 20 sessions will be offered throughout the day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Connelly Center. Attendees will discuss topics such as “"Peace before Justice: Learning from Africa" and “Bringing Together Social Justice and Filmmaking." For a complete Freedom School schedule, visit

For more information about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Dream Camps, visit and to find out more about the various volunteer sites visit