Good morning UMass Dartmouth…and welcome back.
I want to take just a few minutes to talk about two people…one who just began a mission and one who led a movement four decades ago and continues to inspire us.
I am speaking of our new governor Deval Patrick and Martin Luther King Jr.
On Friday, February 2 at 8:30 a.m. in Woodland Commons we will celebrate the enduring lesson of Dr. King’s life and work by honoring our own English professor Bob Waxler and retired New Bedford elementary school teacher Dorothy Lopes with our annual drum major awards.
Bob has literally changed thousands of lives by introducing criminal offenders to inspiring works of literature.
Dorothy has touched the lives of thousands of students and in her spare time worked on a number of community causes dedicated to social justice.
Our keynote speaker will be Salome Thomas- EL, a nationally recognized educator who has motivated hundreds of inner city Philadelphia students to stay in school and go on to college.
The name of the drum major award is taken from a sermon that Dr. King delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on February 4, 1968 just two months before he was assassinated.
The sermon included the following passage:
"If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.’’
I wonder how the civil rights movement would have been accelerated had Dr. King had access to the communication wonders of the internet that we are using today.
The celebration of Martin Luther King’s message will come just one month after our new Governor Deval Patrick and Lt.Gov. Tim Murray held their SouthCoast inauguration celebration right here on campus.
Two thousand people, ranging in age from two to 95, came to campus to wish these leaders the best as they embark on a mission to advance the Commonwealth.
The event included a forum that featured the voices of SouthCoast young people and a reception that included music by local talent – including our alumna Candida Rose and faculty member John Harrison -- and a huge and delicious cake shaped like the State House baked by Diman Regional Vocational students.
Gov. Patrick told us: ''You decided to take a chance, not on me, but on your own aspirations. That is why this is such a hopeful moment.''
We return for spring semester perhaps we should spend some time talking with each other about our own role in advancing those ideals.
Once again, welcome back.