December 07, 2015

Jeanette Grider

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tribute

Event Details: January 12, Busch Student Center, Wool Ballroom, 20 N. Grand Blvd., Rooms 170-173, Lower Level, St. Louis, MO, 63103


Saint Louis University, in partnership with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, will host its fifth annual memorial tribute honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 8:30 to 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Wool Ballroom of SLU's Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd.

The event is free and open to the public, however reservations are required. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. with the program beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Diane Nash

Diane Nash, a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Freedom Rider and a long-time civil rights and peace activist, will be the keynote speaker.

A Chicago native, Nash became involved in the nonviolent movement in 1959 while she was a student at Fisk University. In 1960, she became the chairperson of the student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tennessee - the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters. It was at that time that she and others established the SNCC.

In 1961, Nash coordinated the Freedom Ride bus trip from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi. That same year, while pregnant with her first child, she spent 30 days imprisoned, an incarceration that culminated many arrests she endured as a consequence of her civil rights activities. Nash was appointment by President John F. Kennedy to serve on the committee that promoted passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and worked as an instructor in the philosophy and strategy of non-violence as developed by Mahatma Gandhi.

The program also will include a welcome by Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., president of Saint Louis University, prayers by Father Christopher Collins, S.J., assistant to the president for mission and identity and a reflection by Jonathan C. Smith, Ph.D., special assistant to the president for diversity and community engagement.

SLU alumnus Michael McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, will emcee the program.

During this special event, the University will honor the following individuals and businesses for their contributions to the St. Louis community:

  • Tiffany Anderson, Ed.D., SLU alumna and superintendent of schools for the Jennings School District
  • Celerstine Johnson, Ed.D., SLU alumna and owner of CBJ Group Educational Consultants and former associate provost of Saint Louis University
  • Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, pastor of Saint John's Church and co-chair of the Ferguson Commission
  • Centene Corporation, a community minded organization that seeks to improve the health of individuals and families throughout our metropolitan area. Centene is involved in the region through its charitable foundation, its community outreach, its sense of social responsibility and its green policies.

Entertainment will include African drums by Sylvester "Sunshine" Lee and a musical selection by singer Leslie Johnson.

Parking is available in the University garage located at Grand and Laclede.

For more information or to RSVP, click here, call the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement at 314-977-4585 or email

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