Former Obama advisor to speak at SVSU

SVSU will host guest speaker Valerie Jarrett on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theater.

Jarrett, the former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, will be delivering the keynote address for the 10th annual Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Jarrett’s speech, titled “Working Together to Share the Dream,” is expected to, “discuss equality and opportunity for all Americans, and how that ties in with the beliefs of Dr. King,” according to Mamie Thorns, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs.

J.J. Boehm, the Director of Media and Community Relations, said he expects the keynote speech to also tie in Jarrett’s experience working for President Obama.

Alveda J. Williams, the corporate director of inclusion at Dow Chemical Company, will also give a speech at the event.

Both speeches will feature a question and answer portion to further engage the audience.

“It is our hope that attendees will leave the event with a better understanding of Dr. King’s legacy and how it is relevant to the issues and concerns we are facing today,” said Thorns.

Boehm hopes that the event provides an opportunity for students to engage in learning experiences outside the classroom.

“A full college experience should be more than going to class and completing assignments; it should include thoughtful exchanges of ideas,” Boehm said. “I hope students who are able to attend the event choose to do so.”

The event will conclude with the presentation of scholarships and awards for students embodying Dr. King’s ideals.

“Great Lakes Bay Region MLK Scholarships are presented to outstanding high school seniors who have demonstrated Dr. King’s teaching, while the Drum Major Awards are presented to community members who selflessly perform daily acts of service to make their community, and our world, a better place,” said Thorns.

Three individuals will be receiving the Drum Major Award this year: Benton Gibson, Jeanne Lound Schaller and Leola Wilson.

The event is expected to be very well-attended, and a simulcast is prepared for attendees who cannot fit into the Malcolm Field Theater. Tickets are required for admittance and are available free of charge on the university website.

Students are also encouraged to participate in the various service projects the Saginaw community has planned for Saturday, Jan. 19.

SVSU will also be participating in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Delta College Black Faculty and Staff Association 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March and Luncheon.

“I hope students take advantage of the opportunity to learn from national leaders with diverse experiences and backgrounds, and to think about the late Dr. King’s example and what it means for us today,” said Boehm.

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