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MLK Ceremony Expands Format for 30th Anniversary

Boston College Law School Dean Vincent Rougeau

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Feb. 2, 2012

One of the University’s major annual campus events, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Ceremony, will have a different format this year in celebration of its 30th anniversary when it takes place on Feb. 10.

The event, which traditionally has been an evening banquet in the Welch Dining Room of Lyons Hall, will instead be held in Robsham Theater at 4 p.m., with a keynote address by Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor Charles J. Ogletree, followed by the presentation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, and a reception.
Preceding the ceremony at Robsham will be a 2 p.m. panel discussion in the Murray Room of Yawkey Center that includes former scholarship winners and finalists and members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee. Among the participants will be Boston College Law School Dean Vincent Rougeau and University Trustee Darcel Clark ’83, who won the first King Scholarship.
Organizers say the ceremony’s changed format has a two-fold purpose: to commemorate the King Scholarship’s three decades at BC, while offering an opportunity for the University community to reflect on the state of civil rights and social justice more than 40 years after King’s assassination.
“The civil rights movement is associated with an era long ago, so people may forget — or not even be aware of — what it was all about, and what it accomplished,” said Assistant Director of Alumni Affinity Programs Eva Maynard, who is chair of the scholarship ceremony. “We don’t simply want to memorialize Dr. King, but to honor his life and work by having a conversation about where we are along the path of civil rights and social justice, and what needs to be done.”
The afternoon panel discussion will introduce that theme, and Ogletree will “continue the thought” in his keynote, says Maynard. The founding director of the Charles Hamilton Institute for Race and Justice, Ogletree has researched and written on numerous topics related to civil rights and social justice. He is the author of All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education and in 2003 was selected by Savoy magazine as one of “The 100 Most Influential Blacks in America.”  
But Maynard affirmed the importance of the event’s primary purpose: the presentation of the King Scholarship, which is given to a BC junior who reflects King's philosophy in his or her life and work.
“Every year, the MLK Committee faces the task of choosing a winner from among several outstanding candidates who represent the very best of Boston College, in academics, service and spirituality. We look forward to honoring these young people and their achievements.”