Martin Luther King, Jr. – 2022 Celebration

Martin Luther King Jr. with hands folded

Unrelenting Faith – MLK Celebration 2022

The University of Evansville invites everyone to join in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Activities and events throughout the day will commemorate King’s passionate pursuit of social justice and the work that remains today.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can not see the whole staircase.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

UE's annual MLK Celebration will be held on Monday, January 17, 2022. Events throughout the day will be offered in-person and are listed below. For the latest health and safety guidelines on the UE campus, please visit our Coronavirus webpage.

Order of Events

  • 10:30 a.m. – Grand opening of the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI) and the Multicultural Student Commons (MSC)- The event will be held on the second floor of Ridgway University Center, near the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • 11:15 a.m. – Gather at the Meeks Family Fieldhouse for the Rally
  • 11:45 a.m. - Complete the final mile of 54 Miles to Social Change that began on January 1 and finish at Noon.
  • 1:00 p.m. – Local Leaders Panel Discussion - Schroeder School of Business room 170
  • 2:00 p.m. – Community Service
  • 6:00 p.m. – William G. and Rose M. Mays Lectureship, 2022 Mays Legacy Award, and Inaugural Rising Star Service Award presentations - Eykamp Hall
  • 6:00 p.m. - William G. and Rose M. Mays Lectureship and 2022 Mays Legacy Award presentation - Eykamp Hall
  • 7:00 p.m. – Reception - Class of 1959 Gallery (outside Eykamp Hall)

54 Miles to Social Change

During the Civil Rights March of 1965, activists gathered in Selma, Alabama, to complete a 54-mile trek to the state capital in Montgomery. In recognition of this historical event, UE invites everyone to participate in 54 Miles to Social Change, a virtual march that raises awareness for social injustice in the United States.

The race (miles 1-53) will be held January 1-16, and together the 54th mile will be completed on MLK Day. Individuals or teams can participate by logging their miles spent walking, running, biking, or swimming. Register online at RunSignUp and receive a T-shirt to celebrate the march.

All proceeds will go directly towards Journey to Justice Scholarships for students expressing a financial need. To donate, visit UE Alumni Online.

Rally – 11:15 a.m.

To kick off our MLK Celebration, we will hold a rally in Meeks Family Fieldhouse, located inside Carson Center. The rally will recap the significance of the celebration and include remarks from Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, president of UE; Rob Shelby, PhD, chief diversity officer; Abagail Catania, assistant director of diversity recruitment and programming; and the president of the Black Student Union.

Symbolic March – 11:45 a.m.-Noon

After the rally, UE invites everyone to complete the 54th Mile of Social Change together. The march will begin at Meeks Family Fieldhouse and down nearby streets before returning to campus at Ridgway University Center.

Local Leaders Panel Discussion – 1:00 p.m.

Held in the Schroeder School of Business room 170, the panel will be led by Melissa Morehead, a UE alum and Secretary for the Legal Aid Society Board of Vanderburgh County. The event may also be streamed live at

Lectureship – 6:00 p.m.

Each year, the Martin Luther King Lectureship is made possible by the generous support of William G. and Rose M. Mays. The 2022 lectureship will feature keynote speaker Dr. Lerone A. Martin. Martin is currently an associate professor of religion and politics in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also an associate professor for African and African-American Studies at WashU.

Martin is the author of the award-winning Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion, which tracks the role of the phonograph in the shaping of African American religion, culture, and politics during the first half of the twentieth century.

In 2021, Martin was appointed as the next faculty director for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. The King Institute supports a broad range of educational activities illuminating Dr. King's life and the movements he inspired. Martin will be only the second director, and he will begin his professorship at Stanford in 2022.

After the lectureship, the 2022 Mays Legacy Award will be presented.

Reception – 7:00 p.m.

Students and guests are invited for a reception following the lectureship, hosted in the Class of 1959 Gallery outside Eykamp Hall. The reception will include light refreshments.

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Ridgway University Center, Office 261