Florida State celebrating life of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Florida State University is holding a weeklong celebration to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 21st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration events include a commemorative march, poetry readings, a brain bowl and a community service project.

The celebration of "The Legacy, The Dream, The Vision; We Can Do More!" began with the "Knowledge is King" Academic Brain Bowl at 6 p.m. in the Oglesby Union State Ballroom on Monday, Jan. 12, in which participants demonstrated their knowledge of civil rights issues.

"It is a historic occasion as President-Elect Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech 45 years to the day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech," said Juan Guardia, Florida State’s director of Multicultural Affairs. "Dr. King’s legacy will continue locally at FSU as we celebrate his dream for a just and equal society."

On Wednesday, Jan. 14, the Florida State chapter of the NAACP is scheduled to lead a simulated civil rights march at 10 a.m. starting at the Integration Statue and concluding at the Westcott Building.

Following the march, the commemorative program will start at 11 a.m. in the Oglesby Union ballrooms. Melissa Shivers, the director of intercultural affairs at the University of Georgia, will deliver the keynote address. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award will be given to the nominee who exemplifies outstanding service in keeping with the principles and ideals of King. The award includes a $1,000 stipend.

Six Martin Luther King Jr. Book Stipend Awards will be given to students by the Black Alumni Association and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

In addition, there will be an evening of poetry themed "The Conscious Awakening" on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. in the HCB Building.

Students are committed to a day of service on Monday, Jan. 19, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend as this year’s community service project.

"Melissa Shivers is a dedicated student affairs professional with a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion," said Kelvin Rodriguez, assistant director of Multicultural Affairs. "She has the ability to connect with students and shares a strong commitment to continue the work and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

Shivers has served for several years in student affairs. As director of the department of intercultural affairs she focuses her efforts on academic excellence, advocacy, intercultural education, student leadership through advisement and critical thinking.

She earned her bachelor of science in communication arts with an emphasis in broadcasting from Georgia Southern University, and her master’s degree in higher education student services from Clemson University. She is currently working on her doctorate in student affairs administration at the University of Georgia.

Previously she worked in student affairs at Clemson University and as the director of multicultural programs and services for Clemson’s Gantt Intercultural Center. She coordinated Clemson’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration for three years.

As an active part of the student affairs community, Shivers has been a member of the National Black Greek Leadership Conference Board since 2003; the National Association Student Personnel Administrators since 2000; a previous member of the American College Personnel Association; and has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Southern Association for College Student Affairs since 1999.

Shivers helped create programs at UGA like "R.E.A.L. Talk," an intercultural dialogue series encouraging students to debate major issues in pursuit of respect, equality, awareness and learning, in an effort to engage students.

The national Leadershape Institute selected Shivers to be one of only 23 national lead facilitators for its 2008 faculty. The institute is a six-day interactive program that strives to instill leadership skills in its participants.

Members of the community are encouraged to participate in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration. All events are free and open to the public.