Carnegie Mellon University
January 14, 2014

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20

Jendayi Frazer To Deliver Keynote Address titled “Leading with Courage and Conviction”

Contact: Abby Simmons / 412-268-4290 /

MLK StripPITTSBURGH—Members of the Pittsburgh community are invited to join Carnegie Mellon University’s campus in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20.

Jendayi Frazer (below, right), former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, will deliver a keynote address titled “Leading with Courage and Conviction.” Student speakers Vijay Jayaram (below, middle) and Millard McElwee (below, far right), both juniors in the College of Engineering, will precede Frazer.

Millard McElweeVijayJendayi FrazerFrazer is a distinguished public service professor at CMU’s H. John Heinz III College and director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation. She also is an adjunct senior fellow for Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Frazer served as special assistant to the president and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council from January 2001 until her swearing-in as the first woman U.S. Ambassador to South Africa in 2004. She was appointed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 2005 and served in that role until joining CMU’s faculty in 2009.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of CMU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards. Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, established the awards in 1999 and is among nominees for the CoroCenter for Civic Leadership’s 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards. A record 228 students from eight local high schools and four colleges and universities, including CMU, participated in this year’s contest. Winners will read personal narratives about dealing with racial difference and discrimination during CMU’s celebration. The Department of English, Division of Student Affairs and Office of the President sponsor the awards.

Classes scheduled after 12:30 p.m. will be canceled to encourage student, faculty and staff participation. All events are free, open to the public and located in CMU’s University Center.

The following are event highlights. A full schedule is available at
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
President Subra Suresh’s Listening Tour on Diversity
Rangos Ballroom, second floor

12:30–2 p.m.       
15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Awards Celebration and School of Drama Choral Tribute
Rangos Ballroom, second floor

12:30–3 p.m.    
Children’s Programming, featuring the anti-bullying musical comedy “The Josh & Gab Show” by Pittsburgh-based performers Josh Verbanets and Gab Bonesso at 1:30 p.m. Other activities include sing-a-longs, book readings and art projects.
Connan Room and Wean Commons, first floor

2:30–3:30 p.m.   
Arts Greenhouse Hip-Hop Performance and Workshop
Teens from CMU’s Arts Greenhouse will share music and prose celebrating art and culture and exploring the relevance of Martin Luther King Jr. to Pittsburgh youth.
Kirr Commons, first floor
4:30 p.m.           
Keynote Address and Reception
Student speakers: Vijay Jayaram and Millard McElwee, College of Engineering juniors
Keynote speaker: Jendayi Frazer, distinguished public service professor and director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation at CMU
Rangos Ballroom, second floor

View a live webcast of the student and keynote speakers. The webcast will begin 15 minutes before the event.

8 p.m.          
MLK Late Night: Transcending the Dream—Force Through Speech
Hosted by SPIRIT and the Pittsburgh Poetry Collaborative, this event will showcase spoken-word artists from CMU and the Pittsburgh community.
Skibo Café, second floor        
Contact M. Shernell Smith, assistant director of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, at or 412-268-2075 with questions.