posted January 14, 2014

Civil Rights Celebration Events Underway

As part of the college's annual Civil Rights Celebration Week, a variety of activities have been scheduled for the campus community for the week of Jan. 19-25.

The week honors all persons and groups who have worked toward the advancement of civil rights and social justice, and has been organized in conjunction with the national commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20.  Events will include the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Week Lecture, a special chapel service, a student-led discussion of Scholar Activism, and a cultural excursion.

Admission to all of the activities is free.

The activities will begin on Sunday, Jan. 19, with the play “Clybourne Park” at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.  The award-winning play focuses on race and real estate spanning 50 years in Chicago.  An RSVP is required and should be e-mailed to ome@hope.edu.  More information about the play is available online at: http://www.grct.org/

The highlight of the week will be the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Lecture on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. The keynote speaker will be Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, who is president-elect of Alabama State University. Her lecture, “The Heart of an Activist: Grow Local, Think Global,” will address key issues regarding the use of scholar-activism in addressing major social and cultural issues.  The presentation is sponsored by Herman Miller Inc. and the college’s Office of Multicultural Education and multicultural student organizations.

Boyd will be the featured speaker during the college’s Chapel service on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 10:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

On Thursday, Jan., 23 at 4 p.m. in room 1000 of the Schaap Science Center, students from Hope will be speaking on scholar-activism and how it can be applied at Hope College.  The participating students all attended this year’s Great Lakes Colleges Association Students of Color Leadership Conference at Denison University. 

Gwendolyn Boyd will begin her tenure as Alabama State University’s 14th president, the first woman to hold the position, on February 1.  The first African-American to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University, she has most recently served as an engineer and executive assistant to the Applied Physics Laboratory chief of staff at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., where she worked for the past 33 years.

Her history of leadership is extensive.  She is a past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., chaired the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Boyd has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of her service and dedication as a community leader and volunteer.  Among other honors, she received the 2010 Public Service Award from The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C.; the 2007 Public Service Award from the Baltimore, Md., chapter of the Wilberforce Alumni Association; the 2006 Chancellor’s Award from North Carolina Central University; induction into the National Black AIDS Institute Hall of Fame in 2004 in honor of advocacy to promote education and awareness about HIV/AIDS in the Black Community; selection for Who’s Who Among African Americans; the JHU Women’s Leadership Award from The Johns Hopkins University Women’s Network; the Anheuser Busch Leadership Award; the Leadership Washington Outstanding Alumnus Award; and the Outstanding Service Award from the Howard County Branch of the NAACP.  Other recognition includes selection in 2006 and 2007 by the Black Engineer Association as one of the 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology in the nation, and honorary degrees from both Lincoln University and Bennett College for Women.

Boyd is a native of Montgomery, Ala.  She was educated in the public schools and received a four-year scholarship to attend Alabama State University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics with a double minor in physics and music.  She is a former Miss Alabama State University and an initiate of ASU’s Beta Eta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

In addition to her other degrees, she holds a Master of Divinity and a doctoral degree in ministry from Howard University.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.  The Schaap Science Center is located at 35 E. 12th St., at 12th Street and College Ave.