Martin Luther King III to speak at Convocation

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Martin Luther King III will be addressing Missouri Western students and members of the St. Joseph community on Tuesday, September 12 at the 24th Annual R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues.
A human rights and community advocate as well as the eldest son of famed of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., King III will be speaking on the issue of “Embracing the Ideals of Freedom, Justice and Equality” at 10am in Looney Arena.
The namesake for convocation, Dan Boulware, said that given the recent events in Charlottesville, King’s message is fitting for a convocation on critical issues.
“He’s at the forefront of civil rights in the country and having him as a speaker is in line with the convocation’s critical issues and the diversity we try to bring to that podium,” Boulware said. “I think as it turns out, it’s really timely as we have seen things evolved.”
Vice President of University Advancement Jerry Pickman also said King’s presence at convocation is timely.
“We try to consider a topic that is a critical issue of our time, “ Pickman said. “In this case, with the selection of Martin Luther King III, we were dealing with the aftermath of Ferguson and some other issues with regards to racial tensions in the country. We didn’t have a crystal ball to predict the events of Charlottesville and other things that are going on right now, but we thought it was very timely for our students and for our campus.”
Due to the prominence of issue in our national dialogue, Pickman said a larger crowd than previous years is expected.
“We expect about one thousand high school students to come in this year, in addition to being open to the public,” Pickman said. “We’ve drawn in crowds in the arena of 3,000 to 3,500 people and this year we’re expecting a larger crowd than that because of the timeliness of the topic.”
In order to accommodate the large number of expected visitors, convocation will also be live-streamed into Kemper Recital Hall located in Spratt Hall as well into the Potter Hall auditorium in the event that Looney fills up. While the general public will be directed to Potter because of its proximity to parking lots, students are welcomed at either location if Looney reaches capacity, Pickman said.
“So, what we’re doing is for overflow for students, faculty, and staff is for Kemper Recital Hall primarily,” Pickman said. “And then for the more general public, Potter because we can easily direct people from the Looney Complex to Potter Hall because it’s just up the hill. There is a timing factor because once it [convocation] starts, it starts.”
No matter where students go to attend convocation, both Boulware and Pickman hope they benefit from the series.
“First and foremost, this convocation was intended for the benefit of Missouri Wester students. Now that extends to high school students and members of the community, but first and foremost, it is meant to extend the educational progress of Missouri Western students. I hope they see it that way and I hope they embrace it and I hope they attend these convocations,” Boulware said.
“When you look at everything that is taking place across this country, this is one of those times when if you’re looking for solutions to issues and problems of this nature, it takes a lot of people understanding and having a dialogue about it,” Pickman said.