Villanova University Celebrates the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The University’s 2016 MLK Celebration will include a Day of Service and activities throughout the week honoring the civil rights icon

Villanova University Celebrates the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University will celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of programs and service opportunities beginning Monday, Jan. 18, honoring Dr. King’s vision of peace and social justice.

On Monday, Jan. 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – the Villanova community will participate in the national MLK Day of Service. More than 130 volunteer students, faculty and staff from across the University will come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers and pursue Dr. King’s vision of the “Beloved Community.” Volunteers will visit 25 sites throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. The speaker for the opening ceremony will be Hezekiah Lewis, Assistant Professor of Communication at Villanova. Villanova’s participation in the national Day of Service is coordinated by the University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs, Office of Student Development and Center for Peace and Justice Education.

"Dr. King emphasized brotherly love and expanded our understanding of the many ways in which we fall short of treating each other with respect and dignity,” said Carol Anthony, Chair of the University's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planning Committee and Associate Director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education. “Our week of activities honors Dr. King's vision and call to action by furthering education about the contemporary social justice issues that plague us today. We need to continue Dr. King’s work to keep his dream of a beloved community alive.”

Villanova’s MLK Celebration continues on Tuesday, Jan. 19 with its annual MLK Keynote Address. This year’s address will be delivered by MK Asante, an American author, filmmaker, rapper and professor at Morgan State University. Asante is best known for his best-selling memoir, Buck, a coming-of-age story detailing his journey “through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family” before discovering the healing and redemptive power of literature. Buck made The Washington Post bestseller list in 2014 and 2015 and is a NAACP Image Award finalist. The lecture is free and open to the public. Asante’s keynote will begin at 5 p.m. in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center, located on the main campus of Villanova University. 

Villanova’s Center for Peace and Justice Education will host its annual Freedom School program on Thursday, Jan. 21, in observance of the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Freedom School – which addresses various aspects of social justice that relate to and extend the vision of Dr. King – consists of a series of lectures highlighting important topics such as immigration, the rule of law and respect for human rights, affirmative action and education and social justice. For more information on Villanova’s 2015 Freedom School events, click here.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, The Villanova University School of Law (VLS) presents its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture, sponsored by Pepper Hamilton LLP. This year’s keynote speaker will be Yasser Payne, Associate Professor of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware. His lecture, entitled “School-to-Prison Pipeline in the 21st Century: Understanding the Educational Experiences of the Streets of Black America,” will be held at the Villanova School of Law, in the Laurence E. Hirsch Classroom (room 101) at 4:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Villanova Law’s MLK Celebration events continue Thursday, Jan. 28, with the presentation of “Pull of Gravity,” a film about three men each attempting to make his way along the challenging continuum of reentry in to society following incarceration. With full support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, “Pull of Gravity” expects to unfold as a multi-faceted project that exposes the juggernaut of reentry. The presentation will be held at 4 pm in the Arthur M. Goldberg ’66 Commons at the Villanova School of Law. The event is free and open to the public.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit