News Releases

Ithaca College MLK Week Events to Focus on 'A New Definition of Greatness"

 ITHACA, NY — The first week of the spring semester at Ithaca College will be marked by a series of events celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Scheduled for January 23–28, MLK Week will include presentations by Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick and the college’s MLK Scholars, a concert sponsored by the School of Music, a screening and discussion of the film “The Help” and an expo by campus and community organizations with a focus on social justice.

All of the events are free and open to the public.

The theme for this year’s MLK Week observance is “A New Definition of Greatness,” taken from King’s last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and given just two months before he was killed. A recording of the sermon, which includes the following lines, was played at his funeral: “If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness…it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

Myrick, who was elected in November as the City of Ithaca’s first African-American mayor, will deliver a keynote address based on the MLK Week theme as well as hold an hour-long town hall-style event.

The week will culminate in a Day of Service as Ithaca College students perform volunteer activities at sites throughout the community. Students in Ithaca’s New Roots Charter School have also been invited to take part in an essay-writing contest on the topic of social justice.

MLK Week is sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs. For more information, visit

Monday, January 23
4 p.m., Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall

MLK Week kickoff event featuring the first-year MLK Scholars reflecting on their Civil Rights Tour.

8:15 p.m., Ford Hall, Whalen Center
Martin Luther King Jr. Concert featuring the Ithaca College Chorus and Choir, Ithaca Brass and Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers.

Tuesday, January 24
11 a.m.–2 p.m., Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall

Ithaca Community Expo, featuring campus and community organizations with a focus on social justice.

Noon–1 p.m., Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall
“A New Definition of Freedom: Civic Engagement and the 1961 Freedom Ride,” by Tariq Meyers ’14, who was one of 40 college students selected from across the country to take part in a retracing of the historic Freedom Ride in conjunction with a PBS documentary.

Noon–1 p.m., Klingenstein Lounge, Egbert Hall
“A New Definition of Greatness for Men,” by Patrick Walsh, Residence Director for the HOME (Housing Offering a Multicultural Experience) Program.

Noon–1 p.m., Ithaca Falls Room, Egbert Hall
“Non-violent Resistance in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” by Samantha Lowe ’12, vice president of senate affairs for the Student Government Association.

Wednesday, January 25
7 p.m., Hoerner Theater, Dillingham Center

MLK Week Keynote Address by City of Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick.

Thursday, January 26
Noon–1 p.m., Textor 102

“A Conversation with Mayor Svante Myrick,” a town hall-style program with the mayor.

7 p.m., Taughannock Falls Room, Egbert Hall
Workshop presented by the Ithaca College Diversity Peer Educators.

Friday, January 27
7–10 p.m., Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall
Screening and discussion of “The Help,” a film adaptation of the novel about a young white woman and her relationship with two black maids during the Civil Rights era.

Saturday, January 28
9 a.m.–4 p.m.

MLK Day of Service, with Ithaca College students volunteering with nonprofit organizations in the community including the Salvation Army, Tompkins County Public Library, Beechtree Care Center, Books Through Bars, Love Knows No Bounds and Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts.

7–9 p.m., IC Square, Phillips Hall
“Type or Tweet,” an event designed to commemorate the civil rights struggles of the 1960s while celebrating our progress as a society. Students will have the opportunity to express themselves using words in ways that span generations, from typewriters to Twitter accounts.

9 p.m., Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall
Concert by the R&B band Brownskin.