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MUSC to host intercollegiate observance

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
MUSC will host area college students and members of the Lowcountry community who will discuss the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. on Jan. 22. The public also is invited to attend the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium MLK Jr. observance event from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at MUSC’s Harper Student Center Gymnasium.
The student-driven program features commentary, reflection and praise that recognizes individuals in the community. Participants will share past and enduring examples of King’s compassion to mankind. Entertainment from the MUSC and Charleston Southern University (CSU) gospel choirs also will be featured.
“I think that the program sponsored by the consortium is, indeed, unique and blossoms with uniqueness more and more each year,” said Shelly Stephens, a third-year medical student who was among a core of students helping to plan this year’s event. “The program sponsored by the consortium pulls resources from talented individuals all across the Charleston area, and allows different individuals the opportunity to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King through different avenues of talent, whether it is through public speaking or through song. Not only does it celebrate the life of Dr. King, but it allows us to recognize different individuals across the Lowcountry who are exemplifying the foundation and principles inspired by him.”
The consortium is a non-profit collaborative representing students and staff who are committed to improving cultural and ethnic diversity at the Tri-county’s higher education institutions—The Citadel, MUSC, CSU, College of Charleston and Trident Technical College (TTC). Each year, a member institution serves as host to the event. Last year, it was held at CSU.
“What distinguishes this program from other MLK celebrations is that it is student-driven,” said Wally Bonaparte, director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action and a consortium board member. “Students handle every facet of this program from the presentations to the awards and coordination of choirs. I feel it is extremely important that higher education institutions collaborate on this event because of our involvement in training and educating our community leaders of tomorrow. Each of us has a solid connection to the communities that we serve. This celebration helps to communicate Dr. King’s message, not only to these young adults, but to the community at large. Our collaboration allows us to spread the message to a much broader audience.”
Representatives of the consortium represent the administrative core and foundation of this annual effort and other activities. Although the MLK intercollegiate program was  started by the consortium in 2003, the group has been meeting actively and working together for years.
Members include Maj. Robert Pickering, The Citadel; Angie Anderson and Bonaparte, MUSC; Johnnie Keyes, CSU; and Lottie Otto, TTC.
A major part of the event is the presentation of the MLK Recognition Awards, which are selected by students honoring outstanding individuals who embody the spirit of MLK at each of their respective institutions. Previous winners from MUSC include Thad Bell, M.D., College of Medicine; Sharron Jackson, M.D., Pediatrics; Myra Haney, College of Medicine; and Tom Brown, Pharmacy.
“MUSC is honored to host this year’s Black History Intercollegiate Consortium Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance. The consortium is a remarkable collaboration amongst students from The Citadel, MUSC, Trident Technical College and Charleston Southern; working together to build bridges based on commonalities, and to generate hope and inspiration for the future,” said John Raymond, M.D., vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost.
The event is among several activities supported by MUSC students. On Jan. 17, students, staff and supporters participated in the annual MLK Candlelight Vigil, March and Commemorative Program, which included the results of an MUSC and area high school essay contest.


Friday, Jan. 18, 2008
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