News Release

U of M Crookston, University of North Dakota, and Northland Community and Technical College to Co-sponsor Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration on Monday, January 19, 2015

By Elizabeth Tollefson on
Friday, January 9, 2015

Activitiesbegin at 10:30 a.m. with a Unity Walk followed by a program and recognition.

An area-wide Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration will take place in Crookston, Minn., on Monday, January 19, 2015, and is the result of collaboration between the University of Minnesota Crookston, the University of North Dakota and a new addition of Northland Community and Technical College. The Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is designed around the 2015 national theme: "Remember! Celebrate! Act! King's Legacy of Courage for Our World." Everyone is invited to participate in the activities during this special day-long remembrance of Dr. King.

Activities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a Unity Walk. Individuals who wish to take part in the Unity Walk should go to UMC, park in Lot G near the Kiehle Building, and gather in the Kiehle Rotunda between 10 and 10:15 a.m.  Shuttles will take participants to the starting point at the Crookston Inn, 2200 University Ave. in Crookston. They will walk as a group north to the U of M Crookston's Kiehle Building via the walking/bike path. Clubs and organizations are encouraged to create a banner during the walk. International students will be carrying flags to represent their countries. The Unity Walk is contingent upon favorable weather conditions, which may result in an alternate route or cancellation.

At 11 a.m., a celebration program will be held in the Kiehle Auditorium on the second floor of the Kiehle Building.  UM Crookston Chancellor Fred Wood, Mayor Gary Willhite, and Crookston Student Association President Justin Goodroad will bring greetings followed by a program consisting of performances by the North Star Council-River Edge Drum Group, the UM Crookton Choir, the Gospel Outreach Ministries Praise Dance Team, UMC Jazz Band,  Gospel Soloist DeeDee Downs, remarks from UM Crookston Assistant Professor Venu Mukku about the impact of Mahatma Gandhi upon Dr. King, and recitial of excerpts of the "I Have a Dream Speech" by international students in various languages. The highlight of the program will be the presentation of the 2015 Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. The special honor, first awarded in 2013, recognizes a Red River Valley native or resident who has actively impacted their community by promoting diversity, multiculturalism, equality, and human rights through demonstrated leadership, service, and advocacy on behalf of underrepresented populations and diverse individuals. 

The morning's activities will conclude with a free lunch social for all attendees in the Brown Dining Hall located on the Crookston campus. 

Students, faculty, and staff from the UM Crookston will be engaged in a service project for the Polk County Historical Society from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. at the Carnegie Building, Ash Street North and 2nd Avenue, in Crookston. 

Later in the afternoon, everyone is invited to the University of North Dakota for a program in the Chester Fritz Auditorium at 4 p.m. followed by a time of food and fellowship.


This event is an opportunity for everyone to honor legacy of Dr. King. As the spokesperson for the nonviolent civil rights movement, King worked tirelessly. He was assassinated in 1968, and a day commemorating his legacy is held the third Monday of January each year. The observance was first held in January 1986, after being signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. It wasn't until 2006 that the holiday became official in all 50 states.

For more information on activities taking place during the Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., contact Lorna Hollowell, director of diversity and multicultural programs at the U of M Crookston, at 218-281-8580 (; Heather Meng, director of learning services at Northland Community and Technical College, at 218-683-8560 (; or Malika Carter, director of multicultural student services at the University of North Dakota, at 701-777-4259 ( 

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 31 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.  These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

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