Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week 2017 at UNC Asheville to Feature Keynote Lecture by Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University


UPDATED Jan. 10 with additional information and events:

UNC Asheville will hold a week of special events dedicated to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., highlighted by the keynote lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19 by Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans. This keynote talk, titled Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, takes place in Lipinsky Auditorium on campus.

The week will begin with a Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 16, the King holiday, when students, faculty and staff will volunteer at many different community agencies including The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Buncombe County, the Asheville YMCA, YWCA of Asheville, Asheville GreenWorks, the Shiloh Community Association garden, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, The Rathbun Center, the YMI Cultural Center, and CarePartners Adult Care.

Spring semester academic activities begin on Jan. 17, and they will be accompanied by discussions, films and lectures about civil rights history and current challenges, including the keynote lecture by Kimbrough. These events are free and open to everyone.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week 2017 Activities at UNC Asheville

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Discussion: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Social Justice: How to Navigate Today’s Justice System – This lunch-n-learn discussion will be facilitated by UNC Asheville Chief of Police and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety Eric Boyce. Noon in Highsmith Union, Intercultural Center.

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Documentary Film: Freedom Riders – This 2010 documentary by Stanley Nelson is based on the book, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault, and was part of public television’s American Experience series. The film examines the role played by the Freedom Riders – more than 400 black and white Americans who risked their lives challenging Jim Crow laws journeying through the South. 6 p.m. in Highsmith Union, the Grotto.

Wednesday, Jan. 18 – Discussion: Racial Battle Fatigue: Self Care for the Activist – This discussion will be facilitated by UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Sociology Megan Underhill. 3 p.m. in Highsmith Union, Mountain Suites.

Wednesday, Jan. 18 – Visualizing Communities: A Roundtable Discussion on Creating Brave Places – This discussion will be facilitated by Lise Kloeppel, associate professor of drama and faculty consultant to UNC Asheville’s Key Center, and Assistant Professor of Sociology Lyndi Hewitt. 3:30 p.m. in Highsmith Union, room 224.

Thursday, Jan. 19 – Keynote Lecture by Walter Kimbrough – Kimbrough is the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, and has served in the role since 2012. He previously served as president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 2004 until 2012. Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on African-Americans and higher education. He was cited in 2010 by Bachelors as one of 25 college presidents you should follow on Twitter (@HipHipPrez), by Education Dive as one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right, and in 2015 he was named by The Best as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents.

Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, with specific expertise regarding historically Black, Latin and Asian groups. He is the author of the book, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. He was named the 1994 New Professional of the Year for the Association of Fraternity Advisors. Other honors include the 2010 Ebony Magazine Power 100 list, the 2013 NBC News/The’s 100 African Americans making history today, and the 2014 HBCU Digest male President of the Year. 7 p.m. in Lipinsky Auditorium.

For more information, contact Dahlia Hylton at or 828.251.6577.