President’s Message on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King

Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on April 4, 2018.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. No single quote, photo or film of Dr. King can encapsulate all he accomplished in the name of human rights. A non-violent journey he began as a young man in service to his congregation, community and home state carried messages that resonated deeply across our nation, around the world and through time. Indeed, he was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

I am reminded of this, and I believe all of us are, when we cross our campus and pass by the monument our students built in memory of our alumni and Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who took a stand for human rights at the 1968 Olympics, six months after Dr. King’s assassination. In doing so, they became part of the history of a tumultuous year that also saw the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.

The Smith/Carlos sculpture, and today’s anniversary, reminds us Dr. King’s journey continues. It is my hope that each of you will take a moment to reflect on this day’s significance. Dr. King’s last speech, in support of sanitation workers seeking equal pay and work conditions, is well remembered for its reference to work that would outlast him.

Local school students, community members, and our campus community will gather today at our library, named in Dr. King’s honor, to mark his passing. Beginning at approximately 3:50 p.m., 50 chimes will ring, ending close to 4:01 p.m. PST, the moment when Dr. King was struck down outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President