The beginning of a new semester is a fitting time to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals exemplified by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – social justice, service to others, and the power of ideas to change the world.  As we celebrate his life and legacy this month, I want to call your attention to some upcoming events in which our community will join together to honor these profound ideals:

On Monday, January 21st, the university is organizing the King Day of Service and Leadership, which will take place from 9:30 to 3:30 in the Curry Student Center.  This wonderful event will offer participants the chance to take part in service activities and workshops on leadership development, community building, advocacy and more. To register, please visit the Center of Community Service website.

Later in the week, on Thursday, January 24, we will hold our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation at 12 noon in Blackman Auditorium.  This year, the Honorable Setti Warren, Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, will join us to deliver a keynote address reflecting on Dr. King’s leadership and its meaning today.  I encourage all members of the Northeastern community to join me at this important observance.

I also look forward to seeing many of you at the sold-out event on January 18th featuring Toni Morrison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.  The event, which also is dedicated to Dr. King, will reflect on the struggles of the Civil Rights era and highlight current efforts – including at Northeastern – to promote justice for all communities.

These events are made possible through the efforts of many members of the Northeastern community who embrace the ideals Dr. King stood for, and who strive to live them – and share them – with all of us.

I thank the students, faculty and staff affiliated with the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute, the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at the School of Law, the Northeastern University Humanities Center, our Center of Community Service and our Office of Student Affairs for their leadership in organizing these activities.

In the coming days – and beyond – I hope each of you will take a moment to reflect on the many ways our shared values and diversity enrich the Northeastern community.


Joseph E. Aoun