SJU Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Delivered on Campus

“Our Destinies Are Tied Together”: SJU Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Delivered on Campus

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 3, 2017) — On Thursday, Oct. 26, 1967, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a crowd of 1,500 students, faculty and community members on Saint Joseph’s campus in Alumni Memorial Field House (now Hagan Arena). Invited by student government leaders, King spoke for approximately 50 minutes and addressed the pressing issues of the day, including racial and economic injustice, the Vietnam War, the future of integration, the importance of enforcing civil rights legislation, and non-violent resistance.

Near the end of the speech, King called for unity. “I do want to mention finally that if we are to move on in the days ahead and bring into being a truly integrated society, we must recognize that our destinies are tied together,” he said. “The black man must recognize that his destiny is tied up with the destiny of the white man, and the white man must recognize that his destiny is tied up with the destiny of the black man.”

Less than six months later, on April 4,1968, King would be assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had gone to address striking sanitation workers. He was 39 years old.

Now, 50 years after King delivered the speech at Saint Joseph’s, on Thursday, Oct. 26, the University will commemorate the anniversary with a daylong series of events. Titled “Our Destinies Are Tied Together,” the celebration includes a teach-in featuring Saint Joseph’s faculty; a community reading of the speech by Pa. State Rep. Morgan B. Cephas, University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., and others; a panel of expert faculty members; and a film screening. “The Clear Voice of Justice” exhibit, which draws on Saint Joseph’s archival items related to King and the speech, will open on Thursday, Oct. 12, and will be on display throughout the fall semester on the third floor of the Post Learning Commons and Drexel Library. Additional programming is being planned to run throughout the year.

“Among the many leaders, dignitaries and orators who have spoken publicly at Saint Joseph’s, Dr. King stands alone in stature and impact,” says University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D. “A historical figure for the ages, his message from that day in 1967 is a clarion call 50 years later. ‘Our goal is freedom,’ as Dr. King said, and it is incumbent upon us, as a Jesuit, Catholic university, that our words and actions contribute to the realization of that goal.”

Monica Nixon, Ed.D., assistant provost for inclusion and diversity, adds that “when Dr. King came to Saint Joseph’s in 1967, we were a nation still embroiled in inequality in many social settings: in housing, schools, employment, wages and the law,” she says. “It means a great deal that we were a college that extended the invitation to Dr. King, and that he chose to speak here to discuss solutions of policy, law and heart, to address both the overt and insidious effects of racism and inequality. As we we reflect on the work that still needs to be accomplished, this campus-wide event serves as a reminder that as a university community committed to justice, we have a particular responsibility to apply our knowledge, resources and influence to lead movements for equity.”

A schedule of the day’s events is listed below.

Teach-In, 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m., at Campion Student Center, Presidents Lounge, (2nd floor)

Three innovative teachers — C. Ken Weidner II, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, Emily Hage, Ph.D., associate professor of art, Susan Liebell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science — are opening their classes to the public, offering lessons especially geared to explore themes that King raised. Visit the MLK Teach-In page for additional information.

Community Reading of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 Speech, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Campion Student Center, Doyle Banquet Hall (2nd floor)

Join SJU President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., Pa. State Rep. Morgan B. Cephas and others for a community reading of King’s 1967 remarks and a celebration of the 50th anniversary commemoration.

Featured Panel: Where Do We Go from Here? Fulfilling Dr. King’s Call to Action, 4 to 6 p.m., Campion Student Center, Doyle Banquet Hall (2nd floor)

Expert panelists address the question of “Where do we go from here?,” focusing on the modern-day status and relevance of the concerns King raised in 1967 regarding how to attack poverty and injustice by providing equal access to good schools, housing and jobs.

Film Screening and Discussion: Blaxploitalian, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Forum Theater, Campion Student Center

Blaxploitalian (2016) by acclaimed director Fred Kuwornu explores Blackness in Italian cinema. The movie spans over 100 years of Italian film history (from silent and colonial-era movies up to the present day) to recount the little-known story of how actors of African descent contributed to Italian cinema. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with faculty in the modern languages department.

“The Clear Voice of Justice” Exhibit (opening Thursday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and running throughout the fall semester), Post Learning Commons and Drexel Library, 3rd floor

Celebrate the opening of this exhibition, which draws on correspondence, photographs and other items from the University Archives to encourage reflection on the meaning of King’s visit to Saint Joseph’s University and his principal message of continued resolve to end social injustice. The exhibition was made possible by the resources of the University Library.

Principal Curator: Christopher Dixon

Co-Curators: Emily Hage, Ph.D., associate professor of art, and Randall Miller, Ph.D., professor of history


Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Director of Communications, 610-660-3240,

Event Contact

Office of Inclusion and Diversity,, 610-660-1015


A Statement from the President on the DACA Executive Order

TO: University Community
FROM: Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President
RE: Statement on the DACA Executive Order

Following yesterday’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) issued a statement on behalf of the 28 Jesuit institutions in the United States, which can be found online at This recent statement follows others over the past year, which Saint Joseph’s has supported, to send a powerful message of unity and concern for the status of undocumented students.

Our commitment to support all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, remains steadfast and unchanged.  As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, it is our responsibility to defend and advocate for the dignity of all human beings. I am heartened by the level of concern and care we show for one another, and I ask that we continue to be vigilant to the marginalized within our community. Students in need of support are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Life at 610-660-1045 or the Office of Inclusion and Diversity at 610-660-1015. Please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Saint Joseph’s University | 5600 City Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19131
610-660-1000 |

President Dr. Mark C. Reed’s Announcement On Campus Climate Survey


TO: University Community

FROM: Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President

RE: Campus Climate Assessment

Saint Joseph’s University, guided by our mission, seeks to create an open, fair and equitable environment  for all students, faculty and staff. To focus our efforts, last fall I convened the President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity, and tasked its representatives to review campus practices, recommend initiatives and policies to enhance our inclusion efforts, and encourage coordination across divisions. I am grateful for their counsel and their thoughtful work.

I am happy to announce that, upon the recommendation of the President’s Council, during the upcoming academic year, SJU will undertake a vital and relevant assessment of the campus climate for learning and working. This is our chance to learn more about our campus community and make positive, sustainable changes where they are needed. To ensure full transparency and to provide a more complete perspective, we have contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to help lead this effort. Rankin & Associates have conducted over 190 campus climate assessment projects over the last 20 years.

A team from Rankin & Associates has begun working with a committee of students, faculty and staff representing a variety of areas to develop and implement the assessment. The results will better enable us to develop programs and policies that will address problematic areas and enhance and replicate approaches which are shown to be successfully meeting the needs of our community.

A climate project web site is in development and will provide communication on the project process and results. Once available, we will share the address, as well as any additional information about the project.

I hope that you will join me in supporting this important initiative.


Saint Joseph’s University | 5600 City Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19131
610-660-1000 |

Affirming Our Mission: A Statement from the President

Given the sudden nature of the recent actions by the federal government concerning immigration policy for selected countries, it was critical that the University reach affected community members to offer support as well as remind students, faculty and staff about related privacy policies and procedures. I am pleased with the speed and diligence of our response.

Today, I write to affirm our institutional mission and values grounded in our Jesuit and Catholic identity. In recent months and perhaps to come, events in our nation have given us cause to do so. Yet, at no time has there been a need to change or amend who we are and what we stand for.

Our core values are strong. Saint Joseph’s University has, and always will, stand for the dignity of all human beings. Therefore, actions or language that deny or demean the dignity of any human being are in direct conflict with our mission and do not represent our values.

Further, our mission statement in regard to inclusion and diversity is unequivocal and our commitment to it is as unwavering as ever:

Striving to be an inclusive and diverse community that cares for the whole person…

It is our intention to continue, now and always, to educate, support, promote and celebrate all of our students, faculty and staff, regardless of their nationality, citizenship, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

It is increasingly important that we, as a Jesuit community, with the utmost confidence in our mission and identity, act as engaged citizens and compassionate advocates for marginalized members of our own communities and beyond. Going forward, let us live this mission and let our actions be our statement.

International Student / Faculty Resources

TO: University Community

FROM: Cary Anderson, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Life and Associate Provost

RE: International Student / Faculty Resources

Last week the White House issued an executive order on immigration indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days. The order also blocks citizens of seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The impact of this order and its enforcement are unfolding, and the University is actively monitoring the situation.

In addition, we have reached out to all student members of the SJU community most immediately affected by the order and will continue to offer them our full support and personalized assistance. We would like to extend the same services and support to faculty and others on campus who may have questions or concerns.

If you believe the executive order affects your study, scholarship or Visa status, you may contact the Office of International Student Services at 610-660-3496 ( for assistance. In addition, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (OID) is another important campus resource. Confidential inquiries can be submitted online via the following link:

We are proud that Saint Joseph’s is home to students, staff and scholars from around the world. Their presence enriches our University in countless ways, and we are committed to providing a safe environment that protects the privacy and human dignity of all members of our community.

SJU Honors Martin Luther King Jr. With Service and Awareness

Next week, the Saint Joseph’s University community will join the nation in honoring the legacy and leadership of civil rights activist the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, January 16, 250 student-athletes from Saint Joseph’s will spend the day volunteering alongside community neighbors, working on service projects at the following sites:

  • Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
  • Ivy Ridge Trail
  • Cynwyd Trail
  • Olivet Baptist Church
  • Saunders House
  • Simpson House
  • St. Francis Cabrini School
  • Living Water Baptist Church
  • John C. Anderson Cultural Center
  • Saint Ignatius School
  • Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast High School
  • Bryn Mawr Terrace
  • Drexel/Neumann Academy
  • City Year – Warren G. Harding Middle School
  • Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral School

On Tuesday, January 17, the University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity will sponsor a daylong tribute to King, with civil rights information on campus televisions and tied to balloons throughout Campion Student Center and a post-dinner cake in the dining hall to celebrate his birthday. The Office, which will host the grand opening of its renovated space in Campion on January 24, will also provide diversity awareness training sessions for student leaders during the week.

Events during January will launch a year-long engagement with ideas that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared with the Saint Joseph’s community when he addressed faculty and students in the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse in 1967. In his remarks about the future of integration, Dr. King talked about the work needed to change habits and hearts, to eradicate poverty, and to build a just society.

“Much of what Dr. King called the campus to consider in 1967 continues to resonate today as we continue the work of justice and equity,” says Monica Nixon, assistant provost for inclusion and diversity. “He talked about mutual interdependence and about what would be needed to secure the future of integration. These ideas will ground a year-long series of films, lectures, workshops, and dialogues at Saint Joseph’s.”

Dr. King’s remarks will also serve as the inspiration for a university-wide conference on October 26, 2017, marking the 50th anniversary of his visit to campus.

Office of Inclusion and Diversity Updates- December 12, 2016


TO:          Saint Joseph’s University Students
FROM:    Jeanne F. Brady, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
………….Cary Anderson, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Life and Associate Provost
RE:         Office of Inclusion and Diversity Updates

We are pleased to share several inclusion-related updates with the student body that have taken place since we welcomed Monica L. Nixon, Ed.D., as Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity in late August.

First, the new Center for Inclusion and Diversity will launch in its renovated space in Campion Student Center Suite 210 in January.  Join us, President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., and the Inclusion and Diversity staff at the grand opening of the center on Tuesday, January 24, from 11am to 12:15pm. All in the University community are encouraged to attend the center’s opening.

Second, as a result of a productive conversation with several student organizations the President and Provost will host a dialogue on inclusion, diversity and transparency in early February.  Details regarding the event will be sent shortly after you return for the Spring semester.  

Third, we have added International Student Services (ISS) to the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, which already includes Student Inclusion and Diversity (formerly the Office of Multicultural Life), Inclusion and Diversity Access Programs (formerly Ignatian College Connection), the Women’s Center, and LGBTQ Programs. Bringing together these five units under one organizational umbrella allows the University to leverage considerable strengths in each of the areas and provides a platform for deeper collaborations. 

Fourth, Dr. Nixon is working closely with the University Student Senate to establish a Student Inclusion Advisory Group to advise the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and University leaders. In his capacity as Inclusion and Diversity Chair for Student Senate, Alim Young, Class of 2019, will co-chair the advisory group with Dr. Nixon. The advisory group will add its voice to those of the students serving on the President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity, which President Reed appointed in October.

Finally, at the request of the President, Dr. Nixon has joined the University Leadership Council, a cross-institutional team composed of the vice presidents, deans, and other key leaders. She already serves on the Provost Council and the Student Life Leadership Team, and this most recent appointment positions Dr. Nixon well to advance inclusion initiatives across the institution.

More information regarding activities and services of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity can be found at

We wish you well as the semester draws to a close.

A Message from the President – November 18, 2016

On Monday, I wrote to the University community to reaffirm our values at Saint Joseph’s University and indicate that it is time for us to stand together as a community, in peace, solidarity, understanding, and compassion. Since sending, I have received the most feedback on any of my messages to date. Students, faculty, and staff have shared a range of comments including appreciation and gratitude for what I said, questions about the need and appropriateness of saying anything at all, and disappointment that my message was not more forceful and explicit in condemning acts of intolerance or discrimination on our campus.

As I wrote earlier, I still firmly believe that a clear majority of our community members instinctively do and will continue to promote inclusivity even when we differ, but we are not perfect and unfortunately, we sometimes fail and fall short of our mission and expectations.

It has been shared with me that some members of our community have been subject to harassing or threatening words or actions over the past week. Some are feeling or believe they are unsafe on our campus. Some are questioning the concern and support of the University’s leadership.

I write to state unequivocally and emphatically that acts of intolerance, hate, discrimination, or harassment are in direct conflict with our mission, identity, and values at Saint Joseph’s.  Such acts have no place here.  They stand in stark contrast to the Jesuit and Catholic heritage of the University, as well as basic human dignity. On a personal note, few instances, if any, bother me more than when someone intentionally seeks to cause harm to another or make someone feel unwelcome or excluded from our community.

Violations of the SJU Community Standards, including harassment, intimidation, discrimination, violence, and vandalism will be investigated in accord with the procedures laid out in the student, faculty, and employee handbooks. Incidents that involve criminal actions will be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

As we work to hold ourselves accountable, one challenge can be ensuring that community members who are victimized report harassment and crimes. It can be difficult for those in vulnerable positions to come forward, and so it is incumbent upon all of us to be strong for one another. If you witness something, report it. If you know a victim or someone who is hurting, support them and lead them to the appropriate area for help. If you are a victim, lean on someone you trust, be they a friend, professor, advisor, or campus minister who can help you make a report.

We are collectively responsible for preserving our values.

Here are some important points of contact.

Public Safety & Security:  13 Barbelin Hall, 610-660-1111

Student Life (Community Standards):  239B Campion Student Center, 610-660-1046

Title IX Coordinators (

Dr. Mary Elaine Perry, 610-660-1145 (for all members of University community)
Thomas Sheibley, 610-660-3125 (for all students)
Renie Shields, 610-660-2584 (for Athletics)
Nancy DuBoise, 610-660-3313 (for employees and all others)

Bias Incident Reporting

Additional information about support services and offices, such as Counseling & Psychological Services, Office of Residence Life, Office of Inclusion & Diversity, Campus Ministry, and others, can be found on or The Nest.

Thank you for your continued attention to and support of one another.

Reaffirming Our Values at SJU-A Statement from President Reed

Following last week’s election, events unfolding across the country and on college campuses in our own region have been weighing on me, as I’m sure they have been on all of you. This weekend, I spent considerable time reflecting on how these events are impacting our own campus community and what I might say, especially to students, to encourage us to move forward peacefully, respectfully, and compassionately.

In my reflection, I kept returning to the tremendous faith I have in our community to protect and care for one another, and my strong belief that we will instinctively promote inclusion even when we differ. As Dr. Monica Nixon, assistant provost for Inclusion & Diversity, with my full support, so perfectly expressed in her message to campus last week, “What we do at Saint Joseph’s University is more important than ever.”

And so I was not at all surprised to hear that so many of you made time to come together for last Thursday’s post-election dialogue. Grounded in our mission, it is time for us to stand together as a community, in peace, solidarity, understanding and compassion. We must understand that our own community on Hawk Hill includes those who are celebrating the victory of the candidate they supported, those who are grieving and sense a true loss, and, regrettably, those who feel scared, uncomfortable, and even unsafe. The feelings of our colleagues, friends and classmates are genuine. We must be mindful of them and demonstrate compassion toward one another.

I would like to reiterate my support for our continued efforts to make Saint Joseph’s a place where the dignity of each person is ensured.  All incidents that violate our community standards should be reported immediately.  If you have wider concerns about yourself, friends, or family at this time, please seek out a staff or faculty member and the full services that the University offers.

Lastly, I am reminded of a question that Pope Francis asked his audience during the Mass he celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul during his visit to Philadelphia last year, “What about you? What are you going to do?”  I invite each of us to consider these simple, yet powerful questions. Times of challenge are always ripe with opportunity. Let us face our challenges honestly, openly address what may be uncomfortable and not miss the chance to grow as a community and emerge even stronger.


Dr. Nixon’s Post-Election Statement

I spent much of the day yesterday with students, faculty and staff processing what this week’s Presidential Election says about who we are as a nation and as a campus. There are those in our community who are celebrating the election of a president who represents change. Others in our community feel bewildered, unsafe and in the shadows, and that should matter to all of us.

The historical legacies of racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, heterosexism and classism run deep in our country, and it is clear that we are a divided nation with very different ideas about what progress means. We must seek to understand the perspectives of all those who have felt left behind during recent decades of economic and social change, and we must affirm the safety of those whose civil rights and human dignity are under threat. If nothing else, this election highlighted the urgent need for a new generation of leaders who are committed to bridging divides and pursuing justice.

What we do at Saint Joseph’s University is more important than ever. Last week Dr. Reed wrote a letter to the SJU community in the The Hawk, in which he shared, “Your Jesuit education sharpens your intellect, tunes your moral compass, and calls you to be active and engaged citizens and forces for good in the world.” Our world faces very real challenges, which was the case last week and last year and long before that. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, we live up to our mission based on how we treat those who have less power in our society.

I urge us to be kind, to listen for understanding and to avoid explaining away that which makes us uncomfortable. We have the choice to be a community that is fractured or a community in which each person’s safety and learning matter to all of us. I hope we aspire to the clarion call of the collective, because that is the promise of a Saint Joseph’s education.

Some of us find strength in community, so the Office of Inclusion and Diversity is offering a space later this morning to process together. Join us for “Making Sense of the Presidential Election” at 11:00 a.m. (Campion Student Center, Doyle Banquet Hall South) and in future opportunities for dialogue. I also encourage you to reach out individually to members of our community to offer and ask for support. Take care of yourself, and keep a special eye on those in our community who feel marginalized.

Thank you as we move forward in solidarity.