As Northeastern pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, we celebrate not only his deeds, but the beliefs he championed.  His devotion to justice, peace, and the dignity of all people continually inspires us to reshape the world in his example.

In 2014, our university community is honoring Dr. King’s spirit through 50 Years Forward, a series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This year, we also celebrate the 45th anniversary of the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute and the 40th anniversary of our Department of African American Studies.  As such, even as Dr. King’s work remains unfinished, this year presents a special opportunity for us to reflect on the countless individuals—at Northeastern and across our nation and world—who have carried forth his noble legacy.

This Thursday, January 16th, we mark the highlight of the 50 Years Forward series with “A Tribute to the Dream,” at 4 pm in the Curry Student Center Ballroom.  We welcome Dr. Bob Moses, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who went on to win a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and establish the Algebra Project, a landmark initiative that helps low-income students master mathematics.  WCVB anchorwoman Pam Cross will join Dr. Moses to interview him about his path-breaking work as a civil rights pioneer and help all of us reflect on Dr. King’s life and this year of milestones for our university and country.

I encourage you to attend this very special event, which will also include multimedia and student music performances.  It will be followed by a reception and book signing with Dr. Moses.

It’s always inspiring to see members of the Northeastern community celebrate our diversity, and further events this month—and in the coming year—mark our dedication to the ideal of many cultures and many races gathered in peace and scholarship.  Events commemorating the Civil Rights Movement are listed at  I thank all the students, faculty, and staff who’ve worked so diligently to make this series a tremendous success, especially the leadership of the O’Bryant Institute, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Office of Student Affairs.

As we mark these important milestones, I hope you will take time to reflect on the vibrant tapestry of our community, each thread of which adds to our richness.


Joseph E. Aoun