This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But what might King tell Eastern Kentucky University students if he were alive today?
That was the question posed by two-time EKU graduate Dr. Anton Reece, now president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, when he addressed attendees who packed the Keen Johnson Ballroom for the University’s eighth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 24. The theme for this year’s event was “A Global Strength to Love: Hope and Persistence through a Dream Deferred.”
Recalling the civil rights leader’s embrace of the value of education, Reece told the audience that King would urge the students to take full advantage of their opportunities while on the Richmond campus.
“We need each and every one of you to be the best you can be,” said Reece, a native of Barbados who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at EKU while amassing numerous awards as a student-athlete who excelled in the classroom as well as a member of the University’s track and field team. “Where is your sense of urgency in the pursuit of education?” Like a runner leaving the starting block, “You’ve got to be fully engaged and ready to go. We expect great things from you as a Colonel.”
After Reece’s talk drew a standing ovation, the event concluded with the presentation of the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards. Latrell Floyd and Tiffani Peel received the Student Community Service Awards, and Dr. Qian Xiao and Matt Schumacher were honored with the Staff/Faculty Community Service Awards. Xiao is an associate professor in the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business; and Schumacher serves as senior director for student success in the Office of Retention and Graduation. Schumacher earned his BBA and MBA from Eastern in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
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