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St. Vincent College slates events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Kiron Skinner of Carnegie Mellon University will talk at St. Vincent College in Unity as part of the school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance.

Celebrating the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. can be a history lesson and a time for personal reflection.

Jeff Mallory, coordinator of campus life and multicultural student life at St. Vincent College, said commemoration of the holiday on Monday can be a time to think about compassion and fairness for others in everyday life.

“For a few moments or an hour or two, you can stop what you're doing and refocus,” Mallory said.

While students at Greater Latrobe, Derry Area and Ligonier Valley won't be in session, families can participate in the daylong festivities at the Unity college, which will be open to the public.

With the Martin Luther King Jr. Day program in its fourth year, Mallory said, the enthusiasm of St. Vincent College students has helped to expand the events, culminating in a talk by Kiron Skinner of Carnegie Mellon University.

“The students are really happy to do it, really happy to participate and really happy to see it through,” Mallory said.

Members of the student group Visionaries of H.O.P.E. are also participating in a day of service on Saturday and will visit food banks in honor of King's spirit of service.

“His public talks have an emphasis on service that's not bound by race or creed,” said Kelly King, director of service learning and community outreach.

She encouraged community members to join about 50 students expected to help in places such as the Westmoreland County Food Bank warehouse in Delmont, Ligonier food pantry and Charter Oak food pantry in Unity.

“We've never turned anyone away,” King said.

On Monday, Visionaries of H.O.P.E. will make a “dream center” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lounge of the Carey Student Center with historic images of King, an art exhibit and participatory activities such as signing a poster with personal dreams.

“The goal of the day as always is to honor, respect and remember the great things Martin Luther King Jr. did in his lifetime,” Mallory said. “We want to remember what he fought for and that he was a man who respected everyone and wanted everyone to be respected as well.”

On Monday evening, a presentation will include student-produced videos, a scripture reading and portions of King's “I Have A Dream” speech.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. at the Fred M. Rogers Center, where a reception will begin at 4:30 p.m. before opening remarks by Brother Norman Hipps, president of the college, and Mallory.

The program is free but requires reservation tickets available through the Office of Campus Life.

Skinner is an expert in international relations, U.S. foreign policy and political strategy. She is founding director of the Center for International Relations and Politics and an associate professor of international relations and political science.

Skinner has co-authored three books about former President Ronald Reagan, as well as written for, Foreign, National Review Online, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She also regularly provides scholarly commentary on national and international television and radio programs.

Tickets for the dinner are available through the Office of Campus Life at 724-805-2564 or

Members of the public wishing to participate in the community service outreach can contact Kelly King at

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or