In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day, the MLK Leadership Program of Seton Hall University invites the Seton Hall community and surrounding area to commemorate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in a day of service on Monday, January 15, 2018.
In discussing the day's significance, MLK Leadership Program Director Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett shared Dr. King's vision for service, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
The day of service, spearheaded each year by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), aligns perfectly with the goals of the MLK Leadership program. CNCS and our on-campus leadership organization encourage everyone to volunteer in their local communities during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
"The Seton Hall community has had a long and distinguished track record of civic engagement and volunteerism," Interim President Mary Meehan said. "On January 15 as our nation celebrates the legacy of one of our country's most visionary and heroic leaders, I urge all of us to spend some time giving back to our country in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. Seton Hall University is a place where service, kindness and generosity are the foundation of our community life – let us use this day to extend those values beyond our campus."
Community members can find opportunities to volunteer at food banks and homeless shelters, as well as participate in conservation and neighborhood cleanup projects. To identify opportunities in your area, you can visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.
The campus community is also invited to celebrate Dr. King's life and message at a special commemorative luncheon on Friday January 19 at 11 a.m. in Jubilee Hall Atrium. The event will feature messages from local clergy.
MLK Scholars, participants in the MLK Leadership Program, have chosen to dedicate their free time to volunteer in a variety of settings including middle to high schools, community agencies, international service organizations, and more. Participating in community service is normal for the MLK Scholars, who also take the initiative to plan additional programming and motivational and leadership trainings on campus.
The MLK Leadership Program has an extensive history of servant leadership that has been recognized as recently as this past year. In Fall 2017, several MLK scholars received national recognition from the President's Volunteer Service Award Program – a joint initiative by CNCS and Congress to commemorate the message, methods, volunteer service and the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Forrest Pritchett, second from left, congratulates Kaliyah Inswood, Marissa Banks, Layla Ogletree. Alexandra Recupero was also honored but not pictured.
The 2017 recipients of the President's Volunteer Service Award Program were: senior Kaliyah Inswood, junior Alexandra Recupero, sophomore Layla Ogletree and sophomore Marissa Louren Banks.
"Our program's dedication to leadership and service to the community embodies the legacy of Dr. King," Inswood, who leads the volunteer and community relations efforts for the program, said. "As the Director of Community Service and Engagement it is my goal to help all of our scholars find opportunities to engage with their communities in order to uphold King's legacy of service."
"We not only value educating our fellow students about the issues that affect us, we also value educating others in our communities and helping to build them as people," Ogletree said. "This is why the MLK Leadership Program is so important."
Established in 1970, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Program is the oldest and most prestigious servant leadership program at Seton Hall University and is one of the earliest such programs in the United States.
Originally established as a university scholarship, the program has broadened its vision to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Today, the MLK Leadership Program provides partial tuition scholarships to exceptional students. The program also provides these students invaluable management and leadership development opportunities. MLK Scholars learn how to oversee programs and events from design to implementation. MLK Scholars are also required to conduct research on issues regarding values, equality of access and social justice.
This honorary society has received numerous other awards for its outstanding programming, including "The Outstanding Organization of the Year" – an award it received twice in the last 20 years – and the first ever "Organization Promoting Diversity Leadership" award. Additionally, President Barack Obama issued the Lifetime Achievement Award to Rev. Dr. Pritchett in Spring 2016 for his direction of the program and an extensive number of community initiatives. Many of the program's graduates have matriculated and received national fellowships to pursue graduate and doctoral studies.
The MLK Leadership Program is comprised of scholars from around the world, who have an average historical GPA of approximately 3.5 and a ninety (90) percent retention rate. For incoming freshmen to Seton Hall University interested in applying for the MLK Scholarship on campus, visit https://setonhall.formstack.com/forms/admissions_mlkjr_scholarship.