Heidelberg University kicked off its annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an outstanding representation of King’s philosophy of service to others. On Monday, more than 200 students and about 25 faculty and staff members fanned out into the community to perform service at 28 locations.
“We did a lot of good, but not enough. It was a great day but there are more great days needed,” said HU President Rob Huntington in his welcoming remarks on Tuesday as the university came together to formally celebrate the work and words of MLK.
The president posed the question, “Why are we here?”
“Because we’re not satisfied,” he answered.
Because 45 years after King’s assassination, civil rights progress has been made, but not enough.
“In Dr. King’s life, I believe in essence, what he was trying to get us to grasp is that however we move forward, we still have a way to go.”
Citing King’s words, he added, “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
“That’s why we’re here.”
Heidelberg reached out across town to Tiffin University’s Dr. Sharon Perry-Nause to give a call to action during the celebration. Perry-Nause is the director of institutional diversity and assistant professor of management.
Perry-Nause focused on the topics of humanity and the humanities as they related to King and her own personal journey. As a child in a single-parent home, a college education seemed unreachable.
“I’m all about education. I totally believe it can change your life because it changed mine,” she said. People in her life showed her the path to meet her educational goals. She went on to earn her Ph.D. degree, and said she feels a sense of responsibility to give back.
“No matter what type of college or university or community college, I have an obligation to help individuals reach their goals,” she said. “If we can help individuals get through college, allow college to be more accessible, then actually, we are helping society as a whole.”
Returning to her theme of the humanities, Perry-Nause said the stories, words and experiences within connect our lives in ways that King would desire.
As part of the ceremony, HU presented the annual President’s Service Award to Joe Worthy, ’08 (in absentia). As a student, Worthy was active with Black Student Union and other causes such as encouraging students to vote. He has mentored youth in the Boston area and currently is the Ohio director of youth leadership and organizing for the Children’s Defense Fund in Cleveland.
As is customary, the Heidelberg Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Greg Ramsdell provided a stirring performance of “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” The program concluded with those in attendance joining to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” a sending forth by Campus Minister Paul Sittason Stark.