Gordon in the News: last updated 01/16/2009

Gordon College Remembers Dr. King's Legacy In the Light of the Historic Presidential Inauguration

January 15, 2009

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA-When Stella M. Pierce was growing up in Georgia, everything from water fountains and bathrooms to schools and churches was segregated for "whites or coloreds." Pierce, chair of Gordon's department of education and director of undergraduate programs, also remembers the time a young Baptist preacher named Martin visited her town. So for her, watching the country's first African American inaugurated as president--the day after the national holiday that honors Dr. King--will be a bit "overwhelming." But she also felt it was important to respond to Barack Obama's challenge to serve others on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"My husband and I will be joining a group in helping to prepare and serve dinner at the River House, a homeless shelter in Beverly," Pierce said. "It's a small part we can play in contributing to what Dr. King always inspired us to do: serve, especially in an historic time like this."

Pierce is one of several members of the Gordon College community who will be celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while preparing to honor the historic inauguration of Barack Obama.

The College has long remembered Dr. King's holiday through a variety of activities including the traditional campus convocation. In years past, for instance, Roger Wilkins, the Clarence J. Robinson professor of history and American culture at George Mason University, shared his first-hand experience working with Dr. King, and English Professor Brian Johnson reviewed Dr. King's intellectual and spiritual development. Reverend Herman Hamilton, Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, will speak at this year's convocation, Friday, January 23 with the message, "The Dream Lives On."

Gordon President R. Judson Carlberg, along with Barry Loy, vice president for student development and dean of students, Tim Ferguson-Sauder, Creative Director of the Design Center and others will join Gordon in Lynn staff and partners at the 23rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast in Lynn, MA. This year's event--sponsored by the Community Minority Cultural Center (CMCC), North Shore Community College and Gordon College--will honor Dr. King's legacy and the future of Lynn youth. Staff from Gordon's Center for Technology Services and Return Design contributed design and technical assistance for the event (see image above).

"I look forward each year to celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with our friends in Lynn. This year, more than any other, we'll affirm together how much closer we are to fulfilling the dream of Dr. King in 1963 when less than 24 hours later, President Obama will take the oath of office," President Carlberg said. "What a thrilling day for all Americans to draw hope and joy from this significant step in our national life! My many colleagues and I who are associated with our Gordon in Lynn program are honored to celebrate this day with the citizens of Lynn."

How else will the Gordon community honor both the holiday and the inauguration? Chris Carlson, associate dean of students, will watch and re-read Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech, and invite A. J. Gordon Scholars to think anew about the speech.

Alec Lewis, a sophomore political science and theatre arts major, says he tries each year "to remember the seriousness of the charge that (Dr. King) made. I try to think about where we are in comparison to where we were when he gave the speech and what we as a country, and what we as Christians, can do to move toward the dream that Dr. King laid out."

The day after Dr. King's holiday, several professors, staff and students will view the historic presidential inauguration. Lawrence Holcomb, assistant professor of sociology, will attend the event in Washington, D.C., with his family. Phoebe Bronson, a freshman from Virginia, also will travel with friends to attend the event. On campus, the Center for Technology Services will screen the inauguration live from MacDonald Auditorium--which seats 400--in the Ken Olsen Science Center.

"My prayer is that the image of the noble and stalwart Barack Obama, placing his hand on the Lincoln bible, and taking the Oath of Office, will give all Americans the strength to re-examine our extraordinary and complex history in a spirit of openness, honesty, compassion and grace," Holcomb said.

For more information, contact the Gordon College Office of College Communications at 978.867.4752.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.


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