Kent State to Hold 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 26

David Anderson, founder and president of the BridgeLeader Network, to serve as keynote speaker

Kent State University will hold its 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. This year’s theme is “Testament of Hope: Past, Present and Future of Diversity.” The keynote speaker for the event is David Anderson, D.Phil. He is founder and president of the BridgeLeader Network (BLN), one of the world’s leading authorities on building bridges across the deep divides of race, faith, culture and wealth. 

Photo of David AndersonAnderson’s work has brought hope and healing to communities, families and people in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. 

Anderson’s insight, vision and passion have made him a widely sought speaker, writer and consultant for major national and international events and policy initiatives. He has appeared on ABC, FOX, BET, TBN and C-SPAN. He recently led a discussion on race, religion and relationships at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York. 

Following his keynote presentation, a brief Q&A will take place, and a reception will follow in the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony.

Anderson’s keynote address is free to attend, but a ticket is required.  

“David Anderson is known for bringing messages of hope that unify people across differences of color, class and culture,” said Alfreda Brown, Ed.D., Kent State’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “The title of his message is ‘Gracism – the Art of Inclusion.’ He states, ‘Gracism is the positive solution to racism, and it begins with authentic conversation; indeed, comprehension begins with conversation.’ Dr. Anderson offers a blueprint for bridge-building across race, gender and culture and will take us along a path of understanding how to extend messages of grace and hope.”

The commemorative event also will recognize the 2017 recipients of Kent State’s Diversity Trailblazer Award, which honors diversity pioneers associated with Kent State, and Unity Award for Diversity, which recognizes the contributions of any Kent State unit that demonstrates significant contributions in the areas of diversity, equity and/or inclusion.

The annual Day of Service event on Monday, Jan. 16, from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. will kick off Kent State’s series of celebratory events. Kent State’s Day of Service, which is sponsored by the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, University College and Hillel at Kent State, offers Kent State community members the opportunity to engage in community service to area nonprofit organizations. Following a tremendous outpouring of interest from the university community, the volunteer slots are filled.  

During the monthlong celebration, the Kent State University Bookstore will have a display of books on Martin Luther King Jr. 

Learn more about Kent State’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration or call 330-672-2442. Use #KentStateMLK on social media to join the conversation about Kent State’s celebration.

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Photo Caption:
David Anderson, founder and president of the BridgeLeader Network, will serve as the keynote speaker at Kent State University’s 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. The event will take place Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

Media Contacts:
Shana Lee,, 330-672-8582
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 3:16pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 22, 2017 - 11:20am
University Communications and Marketing