Carnegie Mellon University

To Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh Community:

Last August, I wrote to you about our plans to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday through a variety of activities over the course of several weeks while observing his birthday as a university holiday on January 19. (A copy of the letter from August 21, 2014, can be found here.)  These plans were developed in direct response to your suggestions during my “listening tour” last year to adopt models and mechanisms that would retain the best practices of the past. Your input also included suggestions for creating new opportunities for a range of programs and activities spread over a number of days to enable maximum engagement of the campus community.

I am pleased to let you know that this year, various groups of students, staff and faculty have developed programs to encourage shared reflections on the importance of diversity as we celebrate Dr. King’s life and its enduring impact. Highlights include the following activities:

  • Other events are planned through the Office of Student Affairs and various student groups to address diversity issues at the international, national and local/campus levels. Highlights include: On Monday, January 19, we will continue our tradition of hosting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards, a program that encourages local high school and college students to reflect on their personal experiences with race and discrimination. The ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Rangos Hall.
  • On Monday, January 26, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) and a respected national spokesman on diversity in higher education, will deliver the MLK Jr. Keynote Lecture and Simon Initiative Distinguished Lecture. President Hrabowski and his faculty colleagues have drawn national acclaim for dramatically improving learning outcomes and persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields for students at UMBC, many of whom are minority students from lower income families. The UMBC success story is highly relevant to the goals of the CMU Simon Initiative, and the University of Maryland system has been one of the leading partners and participants in CMU’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI).
  • Other events are planned through the Office of Student Affairs and various student groups to address diversity issues at the international, national and local/campus levels. Highlights include:
    • International, January 12-February 4: “Revisiting Haiti: Five Years Later” events mark the 5th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and celebrates what members of the CMU community have done to support rebuilding and recovery there.
    • National, February 16-17: A reading/discussion of the new book, “Death of A King,” on Dr. King’s activities in the year prior to his assassination in 1968.
    • Campus, February 6:  “I, Too, Am Carnegie Mellon,” a panel highlighting the unique experiences, positive and negative, of African-American students at CMU.

Details of these and many other planned programs are available at: www.cmu.edu/mlk

I hope you will join me in as many of these events as possible, as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

Sincerely,

Subra Suresh
President