UMW Celebrated MLK Day With a Week of Events

The University of Mary Washington celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a week of activities, including a keynote lecture and service opportunities from Jan.22 through Jan. 26.

Steve Pemberton

The celebration kicked off with a viewing of the documentary “Sing Your Song” on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The documentary chronicles the inspirational life of Harry Belafonte and recounts his humble beginnings, his childhood in Jamaica, his rise to stardom and his life-long fight for social justice.

Steve Pemberton, divisional vice president and chief diversity officer at Walgreens, presented the keynote lecture on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in Woodard Campus Center’s Great Hall. A ward of the state for much of his childhood, Pemberton has made opportunity, access and equality pillars of his personal and professional life. He has served on the boards of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Citi Performing Arts Center, the Home for Little Wanderers and the National TRIO Alumni Association. Pemberton is the author of “A Chance in the World: an Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past and How He Found a Place Called Home,” a memoir about his life.

UMW’s celebration continued with a blood and bone marrow drive on Thursday, Jan. 24. The drive, from noon to 6 p.m., was held in Woodard Campus Center’s Great Hall. Every year, more than 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with a serious blood disease requiring a bone marrow transplant, but only 30 percent of patients who need a bone marrow transplant will have a matching donor in their family. The remaining 70 percent rely on the national bone marrow registry in hopes of finding a match. For additional information about donating bone marrow, visit

UMW students visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., shortly after it opened in 2011

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the week culminated with the MLK, Jr. Kids Day and the MLK, Jr. Day of Service. The MLK, Jr. Kids Day, held from 9 a.m. to noon in Woodard Campus Center’s Great Hall, invited children ages five to 12 from the Fredericksburg community to engage in games, activities and crafts to celebrate and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The MLK, Jr. Day of Service focused on community service projects that reflected Dr. King’s dedication to addressing social justice issues, such as poverty, education and public health. Please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at (540) 654-1044, or the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service at (540) 654-2277 to sign up for the MLK, Jr. Kids Day or Day of Service.

For additional information about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at (540) 654-1044 or visit

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.