Black History Month at Florida State to offer diverse array of events

February is Black History Month, and Florida State University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs, Black Student Union and College of Communication and Information each will be hosting special events that aim to make it a meaningful and memorable one. All events are open to the public, and most are free.

“Black History Month provides us the opportunity to reflect, honor and engage in dialogue about the various contributions to our country and society made by the black and African-American community,” said Juan Guardia, director of the FSU Center for Multicultural Affairs, which seeks to encourage greater communication and collaboration among all members of the campus community.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, the College of Communication and Information will kick off “Leaving His Stamp: The Life and Illustrations of Jerry Pinkney,” a multifaceted event that begins with a talk and reception and includes the launch of a month-long exhibit. On Friday, Feb. 17, the Center for Multicultural Affairs will co-host “Strengthening Families and Communities One Family at a Time,” an event that will feature a keynote address by actor, film producer and motivational speaker Ken Bevel.

For Florida State, Black History Month 2012 has special significance. This year, the university marks the 50th anniversary of its integration in 1962.

Event details follow.

FSU Black Student Union:

Events throughout the month, began Feb. 1
With “Our Voyage to the Golden Years” as its 2012 theme, the Black Student Union kicked off a month-long slate of Black History Month events with opening ceremonies on Feb. 1 in Oglesby Union’s State Ballroom.

Phyllis Van Orden
Phyllis Van Orden

Among other scheduled activities are the 2nd Annual Leadership Summit on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dunlap Success Center; a “Motown Getdown” on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Club Downunder; and “Beef It Up: Soul Food Sunday” at 1 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the Student Services Building. Access a map of the Florida State campus here.

For a complete listing of February events hosted or co-hosted by the Black Student Union (some of which require a Florida State University ID for free admission), visit the “Black History Month 2012: Our Voyage to the Golden Years” Facebook page. To learn more, contact Jeanine Suah, vice president of the Black Student Union, at

FSU College of Communication and Information:

Hosting a Feb. 16 talk and reception and a month-long exhibit

In celebration of Black History Month, Florida State’s College of Communication and Information will host a multifaceted event, “Leaving His Stamp: The Life and Illustrations of Jerry Pinkney,” that will begin on Thursday, Feb. 16, and include a presentation on Pinkney, a reception and a month-long exhibit.

Best known for his award-winning illustrations of children’s books, Pinkney is the recipient of a Caldecott Medal and four Caldecott Honors as a finalist for the medal; four Coretta Scott King Awards and one finalist Honor; four New York Times “Best Illustrated” Awards; four gold and four silver medals from the Society of Illustrators; and a Boston Globe Book Award.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m., former FSU faculty member Phyllis Van Orden will discuss Pinkney’s involvement with the U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee as art director and the designer of 12 postage stamps for the Black Heritage series. The talk will be held in the Gregory Conference Room of the Louis Shores Building.

Ken Bevel
Ken Bevel

Following Van Orden’s presentation, a reception will be held at 4 p.m. in the adjacent Goldstein Library and will officially open a set of three exhibits that will displayed from Feb. 16 to March 17. The displays include actual stamps from Van Orden’s talk, information on the aesthetics of stamps, and tools and supplies for stamp collectors.

Limited parking is available in the lot between Montgomery Hall and the Shores Building. Access a campus map of the area here. For more information about the event and exhibit, contact Audrey Post, communications director of the FSU College of Communication and Information, at (850) 645-8818 or

Van Orden, a former faculty member in the FSU School of Library and Information Studies, served as president of the Association for Library Service to Children from 1983 to 1984; chairwoman of the Newbery Award Selection Committee in 1989; and as a member of the Caldecott Award Selection Committee in 1995.

FSU Center for Multicultural Affairs:

On Feb. 17, celebrate families
Florida State University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Florida Department of Children and Families, Heart Gallery North Florida, National Save the Family Now Movement Inc. and Explore Adoption will co-host “Strengthening Families and Communities One Family at a Time,” a Black History Month event that will be held on Friday, Feb. 17, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Room 203 of the Student Services Building on the FSU campus.

The keynote speaker will be actor, film producer and motivational speaker Ken Bevel, a native of Jacksonville, Fla. After 20 years of active service in the U.S. Marine Corps, including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he retired to serve in the ministry. Married with two children, Bevel may be recognized by his role as Lt. Michael Simmons in the 2008 inspirational movie “Fireproof” and for his role as Nathan Hayes in the film “Courageous,” the story of four men who are struggling with the challenges of fatherhood. He has been interviewed on numerous TV shows, including “Fox and Friends” and “Huckabee.”

To learn more, contact Guardia at (850) 644-2450 or