Seton Hill presents Martin Luther King, Jr. educational program

By Katelyn Snyder

Center Spread Editor

Despite a last minute change in speaker, Seton Hill University (SHU) filled Cecilian Hall to watch the “Living the Dream: From the Campus to the Community” presented by Art Terry.

The hour-long presentation was the first part of a two-day celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year’s celebration was held later than usual (on February 3) because of winter break.

The program began with two dramatic presentations from the SHU Theatre Department, lead by Denise Pullen, representing diversity problems in the modern world.

Marcia Pratt, convener for the multicultural diversity awareness task force that sponsors the event, introduced the speaker to approximately 200 SHU students and faculty. Pratt referenced the mission statement, calling the students to “think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world.”

“Life is not about our own narrow ways of viewing things,” said Terry, a graduate of Georgia Tech University who stepped in for Robert Burley when he suddenly became ill and could not speak as scheduled. “If all you eat in your life is chili, will you ever learn to appreciate steak?”

Terry incorporated many stories from his youth in Pittsburgh and about his family’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement into Burley’s presentation outline.  He also stressed the importance of “be[ing] accountable for things you put in the world.”

“Everyone could identify with what (Terry) was saying. Everyone has been picked on or bullied for something in their life,” said sophomore Stephanie Wilson. Indeed, 60-70% of the room raised their hands when asked if they had ever felt discriminated upon.

“He [The speaker] really tried his best to get the audience to participate,” said Pratt, who has been in charge of the two-day celebration since 1997 when it was instituted.

“Dr. King was a man of education, he was a man for all people and he served,” said Pratt. According to her, the two-day education and service program was developed to reflect both aspects of King’s life and legacy.

The program closed with one last upbeat performance by the SHU Theatre Department, who got rave reviews from both Pratt and Wilson.

The fourteen-year tradition of celebrating King at SHU will continue for many more years, according to Pratt.

“I don’t want [Kings] history to ever get lost. In this country, I don’t think that we have achieved the dream that Dr. King had. It’s a constant struggle, and we should keep that at the forefront [of education],” said Pratt.

In the words of Terry, “If we talk about [problems with diversity], then we can solve [them].”

 

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