Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations at UNC Asheville

Walter M. Kimbrough,
president of Dillard University.

UNC Asheville will hold a week of special events dedicated to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., highlighted by the keynote lecture by Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans on January 19.

The week will begin with a Day of Service on MLK Day, Monday, January 16, when students, faculty and staff will volunteer at many different community agencies including The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Buncombe County, the Asheville YMCA, YWCA of Asheville, Asheville GreenWorks, the Shiloh Community Association Garden, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, The Rathbun Center, the YMI Cultural Center, and CarePartners Adult Care.

UNC Asheville will partner with Mission Health and invite alumni to participate this year for the Day of Service, extending the reach into the community.

Spring semester academic activities begin on January 17, and they will be accompanied by discussions, films and lectures about civil rights history and current challenges, including the keynote lecture by Kimbrough. These events are free and open to everyone.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week Activities

Tuesday, January 17 – Documentary Film: Freedom Riders – This 2010 documentary by Stanley Nelson is based on the book, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault, and was part of public television’s American Experience series. The film examines the role played by the Freedom Riders – more than 400 black and white Americans who risked their lives challenging Jim Crow laws by journeying through the South. 6 p.m. in Highsmith Union, the Grotto.

Wednesday, January 18 – Discussion: Racial Battle Fatigue – Facilitated by UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Sociology Megan Underhill, this discussion will examine “racial battle fatigue” – the idea that people of color experience psychological impact from the daily deflecting of racial insults, stereotypes and discrimination. 3 p.m. in Highsmith Union, Mountain Suites.

Wednesday, January 18 – Visualizing Communities: A Roundtable Discussion on Creating Brave Places – Check for more details and location. 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 19 – Keynote Lecture by Walter Kimbrough – Kimbrough is the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, and has served in the role since 2012. He previously served as president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 2004 until 2012. Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on African-Americans and higher education. He was cited in 2010 by Bachelors as one of 25 college presidents you should follow on Twitter (@HipHopPrez) and in 2015 he was named by as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents.

Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, with specific expertise regarding historically Black, Latin and Asian groups. He is the author of the book, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. He has been named to the 2010 Ebony Magazine Power 100 list, the 2013 NBC News/The’s 100 African Americans Making History Today, and the 2014 HBCU Digest Male President of the Year.

For more information, contact Dahlia Hylton at or (828) 251-6577.


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