The University Record, January 24, 1994

An open letter to Campus and Community

I wish to thank the campus and community for a successful 1994 Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day celebration. The events of the Symposium sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Multicultural Affairs and the many speakers, workshops and exhibits arranged by campus units addressed the issues that characterized and revitalized the life work of Dr. King. We are indeed grateful to the students, faculty and staff who worked diligently to make these events successful. Over forty units participated in the day’s program.

Putting on a program of this magnitude requires months of planning, and there are many individuals and groups to whom I wish to extend our gratitude. I am personally appreciative of the hard work of MLK Day Coordinator Michael Jones-Coleman, the Symposium Planning Committee, and the Committee Co-chairs Catrina Smith, undergraduate student in LS&A and the School of Music; Karen Downing, associate librarian, University Library; and Ralph Williams, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of English.

Our gratitude is also extended to the students who organized and participated in the Symposium events: the students of the Black Arts Council of the School of Music for a stunning performance of orchestra works by African American composers at the opening concert, and to the U-M Gospel Choir and the vocal ensemble Highest Praise for their splendid contributions to the Winans closing concert. Students in units throughout the campus are also to be congratulated for their work in planning successful events.

As we begin planning for the 1995 MLK Day observance, we will develop a scheduling structure that will allow maximum access to Symposium events. My office is committed to creating opportunities for people to express their diverse ideologies and relate them to Dr. King and the ideals he represented.

In order to accomplish this goal, we must all work together unselfishly to rededicate ourselves to the vision Dr. King created. He envisioned a world in which an increasingly pluralistic society could work together toward common goals and a diversity of ideas and values. Recently, Coretta Scott King, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, asked that Americans observe the day in the way it was originally designed, as a day of peace and unity for Americans of all backgrounds. I believe our approach to future observances should be consistent with that view.

Lester P. Monts
Vice Provost for Academic and Multicultural Affairs