Skip to main content

News and Media

Open Main MenuClose Main Menu
Seven people stand on a stage and pose for a picture.
From left: Avamarie Blackmon, Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Dr. Darius Prier, Charmaine Motte, Chauntal Dudley, Melisa Echols and Jillian McGee.

OSU celebrates weather-delayed MLK Day event

Friday, January 19, 2024

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 |

Oklahoma State University has celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on campus for years, and a little winter weather isn’t stopping it anytime soon.

Initially, the event was to take place on MLK Day, but icy roads prevented the annual Unity March from happening. Not to be deterred, the OSU MLK Jr. Celebration Committee moved the campus celebration to Thursday. 

More than 100 people were in attendance at the Student Union Theater. The celebration consisted of an introduction by Coordinator of Marketing Strategy Jillian McGee, co-chair of the committee; a performance from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.; a student speech from interior design senior Chauntal Dudley; administrative remarks from Vice President of Student Affairs Doug Hallenbeck; and a keynote speech from College of Education and Human Sciences Associate Dean Darius Prier. 

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity perform a tribute stroll.

Dr. Hallenbeck thanked Dr. Leon McClinton, the director of housing and residential life, for being the man to put the MLK Day celebration in place. 

“Dr. Leon McClinton came to me from his heart and said, ‘We talk about making this an inclusive campus. But we don’t do one of the easiest things for us to do. And that’s to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. in a meaningful way on this campus,’” Hallenbeck said. “Dr. McClinton took it upon himself to make it happen to organize the events to create a committee and really put it in motion.”

Dudley — a member of the Black Student Association, the National Panhellenic Council and the Theta Mu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. — discussed the love and the power of Dr. King’s legacy. 

“Looking at me, you may see a college student giving a speech in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Dudley said. “But do you consider who it is that I really am? Will you remember the pronunciation of my name? Do you wonder if I’ve ever been called a slur, harassed or racially profiled walking around this university? Do you see my color? These are things that you must see when you see me, when you see all Black people.”

Dudley’s speech also covered the history behind MLK Day and encouraged students to pursue volunteer work to seek more progression and fight inequality. 

Dr. Darius Prier
College of Education and Human Sciences Associate Dean Darius Prier

Lastly, Dr. Prier gave a speech titled “Ideal Dreams for Ideal Graduates,” where he tied King’s dreams with the core values of an ideal graduate. His speech encouraged students to never settle for mediocrity and find joy in serving others. 

“All of us are interdependent upon one another, tied to a single garment of destiny,” Prier said. “One of the things we committed to when we got here at Oklahoma State University was a core set of values, and those core set of values ties us to the single garment of destiny. 

“We are tied by a single garment of community. We are tied by a single garment of excellence. We are tied by a single garment of diversity. We are tied by a single garment of integrity. We are tied by a single garment of intellectual freedom. We are tied by a single garment of a stewardship of resources. We are tied by a single garment of service. Those are the specific core values of Oklahoma State University that all of us agreed to.”

The celebration was emceed by Avamarie Blackmon, the president of the Black Student Association on campus. It lasted about an hour and was closed by Melisa Echols, coordinator of student government programs and first year co-chair. Echols recognized the participants of the annual essay contest.

Winners for the essay contest were sponsored with the assistance of the Division of Institutional Diversity.

  • 1st place, $1,500: Emmanuel Intsiful — College of Education and Human Sciences — "The Cowboy Code: An Unyielding Commitment to Martin Luther King's Ideals: Pursuing Justice, Equity, and the Public Good."
  • 2nd place, $1,000: Lenna Abouzahr — College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology — "From Young to Old: How Our Morals Withstand the Test of Time."
  •  3rd place, $500: Roseline Igah — Spears School of Business — "From Ankara to Denim: A Journey of Cultural Adaptation and Resilience in Pursuit of Higher Learning."

Story By: Mak Vandruff |

Back To Top
SVG directory not found.