I welcome the entire University community to join me at this year’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., convocation sponsored by Northeastern’s African-American Institute. Through readings from Dr. King’s works and gospel music, we honor his role as a national and international champion of human rights, celebrate the civil rights strides we have made, and seek guidance in the challenges we still face.

Few people have had the power to open the minds and hearts of the masses as Dr. King did. From the moment he spoke his words, “I have a dream,” he set our nation on a course to deliver on the constitutional promise of freedom and justice regardless of race, creed, or color. The road has not been easy. As a university community and as a nation, we have accomplished much. We must now look forward to all that we can still do to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.

At the convocation, we will hear from the Reverend Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes, pastor emeritus of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, and a man known as much for his community activism as for his preaching and teaching. Dr. Holmes models the important ideals that his great predecessor Dr. King put forth, and his words and actions remind us of the vital role that each one of us plays in achieving social justice for all.

Please join me on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 11:45 am in Blackman Auditorium for this important event. A reception and a question-and-answer session with Dr. Holmes will follow at 1:25 pm at the African-American Institute. I look forward to seeing you all there.