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Valparaiso University continues its tradition of honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. with its 27th annual celebration. The 2017 celebration will focus on the theme “Conscious Humanity: What is Justice?” through lectures, presentations, and interactive discussions.

On Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to engage in thoughtful reflection on King’s legacy and how to continue his work. Conference-style focus sessions will be held in the morning, focusing on four individual tracks: What is Justice, Justice and Society, Justice and Faith, and Criminal Justice. Each track will end with a Q&A panel discussion, before breaking for the annual MLK luncheon.

Cornel West, Ph.D., will serve as keynote speaker for the convocation service, held at 2 p.m. in the Chapel. West, an esteemed lecturer and activist, is professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and professor emeritus at Princeton University. His most recent book, “Black Prophetic Fire,” focuses on 19th- and 20th-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. He is a frequent guest on the “Bill Maher Show,” CNN, C-Span and “Democracy Now.”

West has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in three years and obtained his master of arts and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University.

Additional events include:

  • Young Aspiring Artists Artwork Exhibition Reception and Award Ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, 5–6:30 p.m., Harre Union.
  • Law School Lecture featuring Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, UC-Berkely, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, 4–5 p.m., Wesemann Hall.
  • Community Conversations featuring readings of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr., Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, noon – 1 p.m., various locations throughout Valparaiso.
  • Screening of the documentary “13th,” the Journey from Shackles to Prison Bars, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, 2–5 p.m., Neils Science Center Classroom 234.
  • The Law School’s annual “Talk to a Lawyer” event, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017,
    9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wesemann Hall.
  • Mock Trial: “Dress Code or Islamaphobia,” Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, 5:30 p.m., Wesemann Hall.

Visit for additional information about the MLK Celebration and to register for events.

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