25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration - Kweisi Mfume, "Teaching & Learning: Key to Full Inclusion"

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CHOIR (SINGING): Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Praise him with [INAUDIBLE]. Praise him with [INAUDIBLE]. Praise him on the [INAUDIBLE]. Everything that has breath ought to praise him. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah. [INAUDIBLE] Lord. Praise him with [INAUDIBLE]. Praise him with [INAUDIBLE]. Praise him on the [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] Everything that has breath ought to praise him. Hallelujah. Let us praise the Lord.


MAN: Check one, two.


CHOIR (SINGING): [INAUDIBLE] a word that comes and goes. [INAUDIBLE] Love, though the tears may fade away. [INAUDIBLE] Because I love you, and you've shown me, Jesus, what it really means [INAUDIBLE]. A word that comes and goes. [INAUDIBLE] somebody. Love, though the tears may fade away. [INAUDIBLE] your love will stay because I love you, and you've shown me, Jesus, what it really means to love.

The nights that I cried, you loved me. [INAUDIBLE] I'll never know why you love me. [INAUDIBLE] Now I'm glad to say Jesus, when all hope was gone, you loved me. You gave me a song, and you love me. [INAUDIBLE] love me. [INAUDIBLE]

Now I'm glad to say Jesus, [INAUDIBLE] you loved me. When I should have died, you loved me. [INAUDIBLE] Now I'm glad to say Jesus, when all hope was gone, you loved me. [INAUDIBLE] love me. Now I can go on because you love me. [INAUDIBLE]

Now I'm glad to say Jesus. [INAUDIBLE] really means [INAUDIBLE] really means to love. [INAUDIBLE] Patient. Kind. That's love. Patient. Kind. That's love. Ooh. What it really means, what it really means, what it really means to love.

SMITH: Good morning. Good morning. If I could have people start gathering to their seats So we can begin this morning's breakfast, that would be great. Thank you.


CHOIR (SINGING): [INAUDIBLE] lay down my burdens down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside. I'm going to lay down my burdens down by the riverside, study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more.

I'm going to lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside. I'm going to lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside. Study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more.

I'm going to lay down my burdens down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside. I'm going to lay down my burdens down by the riverside. Study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more. Study war no more, study war no more, study war no more. Study war no more. Study war no more.



Freedom. Freedom. Every woman and child deserves freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Every woman and child deserves freedom. Martin, just like Moses, is saying, Pharaoh, set my people free. How long is it going to take before you're able to see that if one of my brothers or one of my sisters is deprived of liberty, that means none of us, oh, no, none of us is ever really, truly free?

Give me freedom. Freedom. Every woman and child deserves freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Every woman and child deserves freedom. And child deserves freedom.


SMITH: Good morning, everyone. Good morning. My name is Shana Smith, and I am currently a senior in civil engineering here at MIT and have the pleasure of being your mistress of ceremonies for this morning's breakfast. So I would like to officially welcome you to the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Li-- excuse me-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration.

I'd first like to take an opportunity to thank President Charles Vest and his wife, Mrs. Rebecca Vest, for hosting this event. I would also like to thank the honorable Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for being here today with us also. We really appreciate having you. Furthermore, I would like to thank the members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee to whom we can thank for this breakfast and this event. When I call your names, can you please stand and be recognized? Professor Jerome Friedman.


Professor Kenneth Hale.


Professor Wesley Harris.


Professor Richard Milner.


Assistant Professor Melissa Nobles.


Assistant Professor Larry Anderson.


Associate Dean Arnold Henderson, Jr.


Assistant Dean Ann Davis Shaw.


Ronald Crishlow.


The Reverend Jane Gould.


Yvette Lane.


Trudy Morris.


Paul Paravano.


Robert Sales.


Toby Wiener.


Associate Provost Phillip Clay, ex-officio.


Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Clarence G. Williams, ex-officio.


Jennifer Martinez.


Laurie Smith Britain.


And finally, we'd also like to thank the co-chairs, Dean Leo Osgood Jr.


And Professor Michael Feld.


Thank you all. In addition, we'd also like to express our appreciation to the many student volunteers who were here very early this morning to help with the preparations for this event. Thank you for your time.


We begin the program with the invocation by Rabbi Joshua Eli Plout. Following the invocation, the MIT Gospel Choir will sing us a song, I believe. And finally, breakfast will begin.

After breakfast, we will have two students-- Maribel Gomez, class of 2002, and Randall Pinkett, a graduate student-- guide us in a reflection on the life and legacy of Dr. King. Then we will hear some remarks from Dr. Charles Vest, and he will have the distinct pleasure of introducing our keynote speaker, the honorable Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the NAACP.

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bachau will present the 1998-1999 Martin Luther King Leadership Awards, and following that presentation, Provost Robert A. Brown will recognize our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professors for the 1998-99 academic year. So as a conclusion to the program, the MIT Gospel Choir will again perform and lead us as we also join in singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson.

Now let us begin our program with the invocation by Rabbi Joshua Eli Plout. And right after Rabbi Plout's invocation, we can begin breakfast. How about that?

PLOUT: Coming together this morning to warm each other's souls, to inspire one another to continue the struggle for equality, let us listen to and let us act upon the commandments found in the Bible. In the Book of Exodus, God calls upon each one of us to teach our sons and daughters, to teach them the story of the exodus from Egypt, the liberation from the house of bondage.

This duty of teaching our children diligently is repeated in the Book of Deuteronomy. There, we are commanded to love God with all of our mind, with all of our strength, and with all of our being, to set these sacred words which are commanded upon our hearts, to teach them faithfully to our children, to speak of them in our home and on our way when we lie down and when we rise up. And we should bind them as a sign upon our hand and let them be a symbol before our eyes, inscribing them on the door posts of our house and on our gates.

Scripture commands us that teaching and learning, the vehicles of education, are not a privilege, but a duty. Learning and teaching are active states of being. Day and night, let us labor to bring the fruits of education to every person, to erase the inequalities in educational opportunity which so afflict our society, and let us search for and then reach out to help those who are at a disadvantage to empower them with all of the knowledge and wisdom, the skills and learning experiences that will be the key that opens the door to a better and more just life.

On this morning, we gather to honor the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr, a blessed memory, to carry on and transmit the legacy he has bequeathed. As we now carry his torch and this generation, let us keep in mind that every generation that inherits the victories of the past will not enjoy them unless it strives to understand, appreciate, and cherish them as though they themselves have fought for them. Each generation must discover freedom anew. Each must ever earn its claim to liberty. Let us therefore each ask of ourselves how we intend, as individuals, to bring equal educational and work opportunity to those in need, how we intend in our own way to carry the torch of yesteryear.

Looking back in time, I think of my late father, Walter Plout, a rabbi who was a Freedom Rider in 1962 fighting the battle to desegregate public facilities in Georgia and Florida. His heartfelt responsibility is now mine, and I, like the rest of us in this room, have a responsibility to face the unique challenges of inequality in our own generation, continuing the work of those who came before us.

As we sit and break bread together and listen and discuss on this great morning of celebration of the life and the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr, let us be grateful for this wonderful opportunity of a community coming together, striving to forever renew a shared vision. Let us remember that after all, we are here at this great Institute of research, learning, and teaching because we accept our mission to be proactive in fulfilling the dream of providing teaching and learning experiences for every American in need.

And while a good meal now awaits us all, there is much more to anticipate. A 2000-year-old Jewish saying from the Talmud reminds us that the person who teaches his or her neighbor's child will deserve to sit in the heavenly academy. So may be our will and our way. Amen.

CHOIR (SINGING): Ain't going to let nobody, Lordy, turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain't going to let nobody, Lordy, turn me around. Keep on walking. Keep on talking, walking on to Freedom Land.

Ain't gonna let segregation, Lordy, turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain't gonna let's segregation, Lordy, turn me around. Keep on walking. Keep on talking, walking on to Freedom Land.

Ain't gonna let racism, Lordy, turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain't gonna let racism, Lordy, turn me around. Keep on walking. Keep on talking, walking on to Freedom Land.

Ain't gonna let sexism, Lordy, turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain't gonna let sexism, Lordy, turn me around. Keep on walking. Keep on talking, walking on to Freedom Land.

Ain't gonna let the devil, Lordy, turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain't gonna let the devil, Lordy, turn me around. Keep on walking. Keep on talking, walking on to Freedom Land.


SMITH: We're ready to continue on with this morning's program. Welcome back. I hope you all have enjoyed your breakfast as much as I have. We can now go on. I have the distinct pleasure of introducing two of our very own students-- Maribel Gomez, a freshman in chemical engineering, and Randall Pinkett, a graduate student in media arts and sciences. Each will share and guide us through some thoughts and reflections on the life and legacy of Dr. King. So I'd like to introduce Maribel Gomez.


GOMEZ: Good morning, everyone. My name is Maribel Gomez, and I'm a member of the class of 2002, and I'm currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. In the 25 years since his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, has become an American hero. As we remember the life and dream of Dr. King, we remember the injustices that Dr. King fought for, his fight for freedom, equality, and dignity for all races and people, his many speeches that awakened people to the horrors of racial discrimination, and his work that spanned and touched all minorities and motivated them to action.

We remember, but we must also act on his dream. To do this, we must follow Dr. King's example and educate ourselves-- educate ourselves on the meaning and message of such a great educator and those whom inspired him. Martin Luther King's ideas, his call for racial equality, his faith in the ultimate triumph of justice, his insistence on the power of nonviolence to bring a major transformation on American society are as vital and timely as ever. His life and teachings have had a profound influence not only on Americans, but of people of all nations.

Dr. King said, "Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. We are such a diverse, multicultural nation that we can no longer tolerate injustices based on the color of our skin. We must empower ourselves with our knowledge and become educators ourselves to those who are ignorant.

History is still unfolding. Our actions today will be the history of tomorrow. We must act accordingly. We must respond to the words he preached. I quote, "We are faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Let us not be too late. Let us not be too late."

Let us all live and act by the words of Dr. King. Let us educate those around us of the joys of living together in harmony, and let him continue to inspire us to perform extraordinary acts of courage and perseverance, just like he did when he ignited one of the most influential civil rights and economic movements of the 20th century. I'd like to leave with Dr. King's quote again as a reminder. "Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Thank you.


SMITH: Thank you very, very, very much, Maribel, for those inspiring and thought-provoking remarks. We will now proceed with Mr. Randall Pinkett. Randall?

PINKETT: Thank you, Shana. Good morning. Somewhere I once heard that the great figures among us have been ordinary people that have done extraordinary things. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, did extraordinary things. But at the same time-- and I don't think I diminish Dr. King's great legacy by saying this-- he was an ordinary man, an ordinary man that did ordinary things until December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and Dr. King, at the age of 26 and just barely out of graduate school, was placed at a crossroad along the path that constitutes human history. It was then that this man, this ordinary man, became a great figure and did extraordinary things.

Robert Frost wrote, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." But in recognition of Dr. King's legacy, I pose the following question. What about when there is no road? Hmm? What about when there is no road, no path to follow?

Of the many things I've learned from Dr. King's life, high among them is the notion that each of us, in our own unique way, is embarking on a new path with each passing moment, venturing into uncharted territory. And while there are points and places and moments and times where our paths cross and intersect and intertwine, no two paths are alike. The honorable Mr. Mfume has walked along a path, his own path. Our honorees today-- Mr. Williamson, Ms. [INAUDIBLE], and Professor Slocum-- have walked along their own paths. And the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, walked along his path.

So I ask the question once again, ladies and gentlemen. What about when there is no road? The answer? The road is made as one walks. The road is made as one walks.

Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King means remembering that just as he walked along his path and was able to do great things, we must walk along our path knowing that we, too, can do great things, because if we put Dr. King too high on a pedestal, if we allow his accomplishments to in some way become unachievable or unattainable, then not only do we do a disservice to his life and his legacy, but we diminish our own capacity as ordinary people to do extraordinary things. God bless you, and God bless you, Dr. King.


SMITH: Once again, I'd like to thank both Maribel and Randall for sharing their thoughts and remarks on Dr. King. I hope that everyone here has had a chance to really take in what was said and reflect for themselves. I would like to now introduce the 15th President of MIT, Dr. Charles M. Vest, who will give some remarks and then introduce our keynote speaker, the honorable Kweisi Mfume. President Vest?


VEST: Thank you, Shana. Mr. Mfume, at least you get me between those kids and yourself.



Before I begin my remarks, I want to take a moment to recognize several distinguished representatives of the larger Cambridge community who have joined with us for today's program. From the Cambridge City Council, I'm very pleased to welcome our current mayor, Frank [INAUDIBLE], and also his predecessor, City Councilor Ken Reeves. We also are very pleased to have with us--


We also are very pleased to have with us City Councilor Catherine [INAUDIBLE]; the Cambridge Police Commissioner, Ronnie Watson; the Mayor's School Liaison, Ann-Leigh Foster; the Mayor's Chief of Staff, [INAUDIBLE]; and the Coordinator of the Mayor's Initiative on Race and Class, Michelle Farnam. Welcome to all of you.


We're also delighted to welcome to this morning's events a delegation of leaders from the Cambridge Public School System, which is establishing its own dialogue on race relations under the guidance of school committee member Denise Simmons. Ms. Simmons is with us today.


And accompanying her, fellow school committee member Robin Harris, Superintendent of Schools Bobby Del Sandro, and Deputy Superintendent Patrick Murphy. Welcome to all of you.


I think it's fair to say that MIT and the city of Cambridge are on a shared journey, and the ways in which we work together in education, development, and civic affairs is something that gives me great confidence in our future. It's good to have all of you here this morning.

Just four years ago, the keynote speaker for this event was Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. This past year, after a half century of service as one of our nation's foremost jurists, scholars, and advocates for civil rights, Judge Higginbotham was taken from us. I could not let this occasion pass without saying a few words about this truly extraordinary man.

Leon Higginbotham was a hero for many Americans. Here at MIT, we will forever be grateful for his compelling and effective advocacy on our behalf during what became known as the overlap case. As many in this room remember, in 1991, the United States Justice Department brought an antitrust suit against MIT and against the Ivy League universities, alleging collusion in the way in which we award financial aid to our students. We argued that our practices sought to ensure that students would be awarded financial aid solely on the basis of their financial need and that different schools would not get into financial bidding wars for students.

Judge Higginbotham, who had recently retired from the bench, believed our case was so compelling that he volunteered to present pro-bono the amici briefs on our behalf at the appellate court. A staunch and effective supporter of affirmative action and diversity, Leon Higginbotham argued that the principles at stake in the overlap case had to do with both public policy and ethical norms, and one of those norms, he said, and I quote here, was that "those people who are poor but who are talented should have the same opportunity to have an entry into these great universities as did the Kennedys and the Rockefellers and the Cabots and the Lodges."

One of the reasons he worked so hard to preserve the practice of need-blind admission and need-based financial aid was his recognition that this policy was a blessing not only for those who receive the opportunity, but for the larger society as well. After he had made his argument to the appellate court, an argument that prevailed, Judge Higginbotham got a letter from an antitrust lawyer who had heard his presentation to the court. That lawyer observed that in the future, quote, "many poor white kids will get into Ivy League schools, and they will not recognize that this option was made possible because of the arguments of a black lawyer and the Congressional Black Caucus made on behalf of MIT for all of the poor kids of America."

As Judge Higginbotham reminded us when he spoke here in 1995, we meet here today to acknowledge that Martin Luther King's legacy was not merely to black people or to brown people. His legacy was one that embraced all people. This is perhaps the least understood and most misrepresented aspect of the ongoing debate over policies designed to promote more equal opportunity and greater diversity in American society. Leon Higginbotham knew that society could not progress unless it progressed as a whole, with no one left behind or pushed aside.

Today, this fundamental policy, this fundamental principle, is again under direct assault. Across America, the old cry of "your gain is my loss" is heard on college campuses, corporate boardrooms, and the halls of Congress. It is a matter of profound and disturbing irony that at a time of unparalleled prosperity, many of those who have the most-- the most wealth, the most access, the most skills, the most power-- seem to be more reluctant than ever to invest those resources in a strong and just society. In order to bring that strength and justice to our society, all of us must continue to think on and speak out about the issue of race-sensitive admissions in American higher education.

Since 1978, our colleges and universities have designed and administered admissions policies under the guidance of the Bakke decision, which was forged in the Supreme Court by Thurgood Marshall. This guidance is clear. Race may be one of several factors considered when we select students for admissions to our campuses.

This simple statement, in my view, is the appropriate one. Under it, as Bill Bowen and Derek Bok have clearly demonstrated in their recent book, The Shape of the River, our institutions have contributed substantially to the establishment of a strong black middle class, and therefore, to the strengthening of America as a whole, but the quest is far from complete.

Today, through referenda such as Proposition 209 in California, Initiative Measure 200 in the state of Washington, public universities are losing their ability to utilize race-sensitive admissions or even the ability to mount outreach programs to minority youngsters in primary and secondary schools. From MIT'S point of view, more dangerous still are successful attacks in the courts, especially the Hopwood case dealing with admission to the University of Texas Law School. A case involving undergraduate admissions at the University of Michigan currently pending in the courts may be the most important to date.

Now, many argue on behalf of these referenda and court challenges, and do so in good faith, that it is discriminatory to make race a consideration in admissions and that students should be admitted only on what they consider to be merit. In my view, there are two, quite elementary flaws in this argument. First, we have laid upon the table several factors, things such as grades, ranks in class, test scores, geographic distribution, breadth of interest, unusual accomplishments outside the classroom, race, economic status, international mixture, and so forth and so on. Those who challenge us reach out and remove from the table one and only one factor-- race-- and say, thou shalt not consider this.

Second, their underlying assumption is that we can accurately measure specific quality of our applicants by a simple number or two. They seem to seek a world in which we are each ranked at age 18 by some easy indicator like an SAT score which thereby determines our breadth of opportunity. We believe that building a class for a great university by using a range of factors promotes a better educational experience for all of our students, and that it increases our ability to contribute to building the strong, coherent, productive society this nation will need in the next century.

The logic underlying this belief, to use a favorite MIT phrase, is intuitively obvious, yet far too many of us still cannot seem to understand the old patterns of exclusion and separation did not work and must not be restored. They don't work for society, and they really don't work for individuals. To the contrary, individual fulfillment is enabled and enhanced by participation in the larger community. Here on our campus, the recently issued report of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning reminds us that excellence in research and education arise not only from individual efforts, but also from commingling of diverse ideas, perspectives, challenge of competition and of teamwork, and the support of a nurturing community.

The message underlying the task force's recommendation is that MIT must become more than just the sum of its parts, and in order to educate a new generation of leaders for an increasingly interconnected global society, we must, by our own example, show students how to function, communicate, and thrive in a diverse environment.

One promising effort in community-building at MIT is occurring in our facilities department and on our campus police force, where working and managing in a diverse environment is made an explicit part of each person's career development. While the program is relatively new, early evidence suggests that the direct attention to training and evaluation and managing such issues can improve communication, productivity, and employee satisfaction for everyone.

Of course, many of the same pressures and problems that affect our larger society remain part of our everyday life at MIT. We're still only at the beginning of a long and difficult journey. I hope, however, that even in times of controversy, we hold onto the example of such leaders as Dr. King and Judge Higginbotham-- remind us that our journey cannot be completed alone. Unless all of us help and each of us-- unless all of us help each to make our own way, we will never realize the highest potential we have for excellence and achievement.

In designing our admissions policies, in shaping our curricula, and advising our students and working together, we must never lose sight of the truth expressed in these words written by James Taylor to honor the memory of Dr. King. "We are bound together by the tasks that lie before us and the road that lies ahead. We are bound, and we are bound." Thank you again very much for being here this morning and for sharing this small part of a great journey. Thank you.


And now, it's my pleasure and honor to introduce this morning's keynote speaker, the honorable Kweisi Mfume, president and CEO of the NAACP. This annual ceremony commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, has been an important feature of the MIT calendar for the last quarter century. Over that time, we have been graced with many fine speakers, each of whom has made a unique contribution to the history and the cumulative impact of this event.

The experience and achievements of this year's keynote speaker, however, are so impressive and so relevant that it would be difficult to conceive of a better or more welcome choice. His own life journey is witness to the transforming influence of determination, education, and vision in the life of an individual and to society. Raised in Baltimore's inner city, he graduated from Morgan State University and from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies.

He then began his political career back on home ground as a Baltimore city councilman. In 1986, he was elected to Congress, where he served for 10 years as representative of Maryland's seventh district. In the course of his Congressional career, Mr. Mfume was a powerful advocate for landmark legislation affecting civil rights and economic development. During his tenure in Congress, he served as chair of the Joint Senate-House Economic Committee, and his other committee assignments included the Ethics Committee, Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Committee on Education, and the Small Business Committee. In 1996, he resigned from Congress to assume the presidency of the NAACP, where his leadership has had a significant impact on a wide range of civil rights issues.

In addition to his work with the NAACP, Mr. Mfume is active in the world of higher education. He serves on the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the Senior Advisory Committee in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Meyerhoff National Advisory Board of the University of Maryland, and the board of trustees of the Enterprise Foundation, and I believe from our table conversation also on the Johns Hopkins board now. He's a member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and he is the author of a critically acclaimed autobiography entitled No Free Ride. When it comes to equal opportunity and social progress for all Americans, we could seek no stronger advocate. Please join me in welcoming the honorable Kweisi Mfume.


MFUME: Thank you very much. Allow me, if I might, to begin my remarks by thanking Dr. Vest for those kind and overly gracious set of comments, and for his leadership at this historic university, but probably this morning, more than anything else, for being a buffer between me and the two very impressive students that spoke before me.

I am particularly happy, Dr. Vest, that you invoked the name of Leon Higginbotham, who was a very dear friend and probably the most important reason why I left my work in the Congress to join the NAACP. After many conversations with Judge Higginbotham and after many opportunities to understand his reasoning as to why it was important for me to do that, I ultimately did just that and was here just a couple of months ago to participate in his home-going service and would say to particularly students who may have not had the opportunity to meet Leon Higginbotham that you find a way to either get to the library or to get back on the internet or to get to someone who did to find out about this extraordinary individual.

I'd also like to thank all of the people who have made this morning's event possible, and there are a lot of them. And I was particularly happy last night that I got a chance to meet many of them. I'd like, if I might, on a point of personal privilege to really thank Dr. Leo Osgood and Professor Michael Feld. They have, through perhaps some difficulty but more importantly, through a number of different circumstances that we probably are not aware of, continued to find a way to make this possible and to remind all of us about the need to take time to commemorate and to remember.

I want to also say to Provost Robert Brown and all the others who have worked very hard on this event that I do thank you, and I know I speak on behalf of students who are here and those who are not who recognize now, even if it is in hindsight, how important this remembrance is.

To Ms. Gomez and Mr. Pinkett, I want to thank both of you for your energy, for the opportunity to meet you last night, but more importantly, for the energy and the sense of understanding you displayed a little while ago with respect to why it is important to remember.

And I'd also, if I might, like to acknowledge, as was the case earlier, the presence of the mayor of Cambridge and many, many other honored guests, not the least of which are several distinguished members of our organization, our state conference president here in the New England area, Ms. Charlotte Nelson, who is somewhere out there-- Charlotte-- and the presidents of our Boston and Cambridge chapters, Lennie Alkins, Jackie Carol. I know [INAUDIBLE] is here and a few others. Thank all of you for coming out and supporting me and for coming out also to work with this community as you do day in and day out. Could we give all of those persons a round of applause?


I bring you greetings this morning on behalf of the NAACP-- our 1,700 branches and 50 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan, and Korea. At the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, we believe that colored people come in all colors, for it was the NAACP that saw America through the troubled years of Jim Crow and second-class citizenship and legal lynchings, through the years of manufactured grandfather clauses and poll taxes and literacy tests where you had to tell how many bubbles were in a bar of soap just to be allowed to vote. We fought over the years the just fight to integrate the military and to end official segregation as we knew it, and we found also a way to help a nation divided against itself through the confusion and the turbulence of the 1960s, and then later, through the I-isms and the differences of the 1980s. And so it is not for us a matter of having come a long, long way, but rather and instead, it is a matter of having still yet a long, long way to go.

That, in turn, begs the question not when do we get there, but what path do we take? And that is where your themes of teaching and learning and inclusion come into play. You see, the light really does burn bright here at and for MIT. You are a place in many respects where, for some people, dreams have come true and given birth to other dreams of service and academic excellence. You have been entrusted with a mighty vision, and you have proven in many respects to be worthy stewards. Some of you have worked hard to make sure that your talents are not buried in the ground, but rather invested well in the arts and in the minds of our greatest asset, our young people.

The late Dr. Benjamin Mays of Morehouse College once said that he or she who starts behind in the race of life would either have to run faster or forever remain behind. Young men and women who have kept this tradition of remembering alive now for all these 25 years, in fact, have run faster. And so I applaud them and those brave souls, no matter how small in number they may be, who labor here at this university, who, like tillers of the soil, continue to push and to prod and cajole for a greater university commitment to diversity and equal opportunity. They know almost intuitively that our ability as a nation to survive will depend particularly on how we deal with our increasingly pluralistic society.

And so as a preface to my remarks, I would challenge others today to take the route that those individuals have taken. It is one of embracing diversity while seeking to promote reciprocal understandings, recognizing as we do that quite frankly, it's easier to do nothing. And so because we all want to do something, let's start, if we might, by putting in proper context the man who we have come to commemorate this morning.

The rabbi spoke of the Old Testament. Let me go even beyond the Book of Exodus to talk for just a moment about the Book of Genesis, the 37th chapter, because it underscores in many respects the age-old desire by a lot of people to undercut visionaries by trying to do away with their dreams. It says in the 37th chapter that "and when they saw him from afar, even before he had come near to them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, behold, the dreamer cometh. Come now, therefore, and let us slay him, and we will cast him into some old pit, and we will say that some evil beast has devoured him, and we shall see what becomes of his dream."

Martin Luther King, Jr, un-awed by opinion, un-seduced by flattery, undismayed by disaster, confronted life with the courage of his convictions and confronted death with the courage of his faith. And lest we ever forget, we are talking about a young man, 26 years of age when his face first appeared on the cover of Time magazine, 35 years of age when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, 39 years of age on the afternoon of his assassination. It is important to understand that because it's important to have a full appreciation of his capacity and his indignation over the absence of justice.

A Greek historian, at least legend has it, was once asked when would justice ever come to Athens. And after thinking about the magnitude of the question, he thoughtfully replied that justice would never come to Athens until all those who were not injured were just as indignant as all of those who are.

And so I hope and pray that those of you in this room this morning who are Caucasian or white, that you understand the indignity of those like myself who are not at the scourge of racism and bigotry and unequal treatment, and that you, in your own way, will become just as indignant. I hope and pray that those who are here today who are of Asian and Indian, Hispanic, and Native American ancestry, that you understand, as we must, the real need never to give up on the idea of coalition building, even when some in your number and some in mine prefer to go the other way and to talk only about our individual agendas or the power of our individual groups. And I hope and pray that those of you who sit here today who are African-American or of African ancestry, that you understand, as we must, the real need at some point in time to get beyond blame, to get beyond excuses, and to start once again doing for ourselves.


If we were to leave here and to go over to the lab and sit before any computer and to request from ourselves a simple computer print-out of all the salient issues facing us as a nation, it is clear that the list of problems to be printed out by that computer would, in fact, be overwhelming. Institutionally, government, military, church, and school are all under attack for either real or imagined defects.

Politically, the Joint Center for Political Studies in Washington would remind us that 35 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act and 30 years after outright efforts to register and to elect people that still in this country, less than 7% of all the elected officials are of African or Hispanic or Asian ancestry. Socially, that same print-out would suggest that the issue of race and skin color still dominate too many aspects of American life, both at home and abroad. Economically, it would suggest to us in the clearest of terms that after four years of Congressional acquiescence to the concept of Robin Hood in reverse, the haves now have more, and the have-nots have none at all. The gap continues to widen.


Educationally, it would point out the obvious-- that too many of our public schools are overcrowded and ill equipped, and drugs tend to be more available than textbooks, and that too many young people in those schools, because they are a lot there, are being promoted because of their age or because of their size, only to be rewarded at the end of 12 years with the equivalent document that would suggest it was a certificate of attendance, but not a meaningful high school diploma.

And yet we know that the student in those schools, not different from students in other schools, have one thing that defines them, and that is that the student who makes the grade is still the one who comes early and stays late to learn the meaning of the lesson, but never to lessen the meaning of the assignment, and that the teacher in those schools who makes the grade is still the teacher who teaches to touch a life and not just to make a living.

Just a few months from now, we will witness what many in the press will refer to as a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision-- Brown versus the Board of Topeka, Kansas, when on May 17, 1954, nine men robed in black assembled on that historic day to announce their unanimous verdict. There was, in fact, dancing in the streets. At black colleges, classes were suspended that day and parties were hastily assembled, and there was dancing in the streets of Richmond and Raleigh and Baltimore and Washington, and people began to believe in their hearts and in the inner-most parts of their being that our nation was at long last launched on an unalterable course with a firm determination that in terms of public education, we were now prepared to overcome the legacies of the past.

But in 1969, just a decade or so later, a high-ranking official in the White House who is now a United States senator advised the president then in what later became known as the celebrated "Memorandum on Public Education" when he said, Mr. President, we have made so much progress moving black people into the mainstream of American economic, educational, and social life that our nation's policies from this point on with respect to the status of those people ought be accorded benign neglect. That neglect once proposed as benign in too many respects today for too many people is a neglect that is malignant.

And so when we think about Dr. King and his capacity, remember also what Randall said. This was an ordinary man who was called on to do extraordinary things. And I underscore that because God still calls on ordinary people-- all of us-- as Booker T. Washington once said, to cast our buckets down where we are, to pick our own battlefield, and to make a difference in a real and meaningful way.

When Dr. Vest talked about these attacks on the ability of young people to matriculate as a result of efforts to deny opportunity, that's all tied into the exact same thing. We know that affirmative action has met with resistance from its inception and that for the last five years or so, there has been a sustained attack nationwide, a movement throughout the country to gut and to destroy affirmative action as we know it, and in the process, destroy diversity programs as well, programs both in the workplace and on college campuses. Prop 209, Initiative 200, the University of Michigan case which is now pending, the Hopwood decision-- in the aggregate, they chip away at the ability of people who come behind you, or at least want to come behind you, students, to sit where you sit.

Now, interestingly enough, the rationale for this attack has been unsubstantiated reports of widespread colorblindness. People just say, well, you know, things are different and were a colorblind society, and so we don't need to help you with a Hispanic surname. We don't need to help you because you happen to be of African ancestry. We don't really need to help you, either, because you come from the Pacific Rim. We don't have to help you who grew up in Appalachia. We don't have to do anything for anybody because colorblindness has broken out throughout this society.

Oh, if that were the case, this program would be more than a celebration. It would be a magnificent celebration. And so I say to you and remind myself, as we think about why we have come together, what it means to remember Dr. King and what our own personal challenge is, that it is not so much the hypocrisy of the past, the things that we know about that we find repulsive-- the institution of slavery, the attacks on individuals because of their religious beliefs, the attacks on individuals because of their surnames or because of their sexual preferences. It is not so much the hypocrisies of a past as much as it is for those people of color the hypocrisies of the present. That's what should concern us.

Item number one. In 1990, the Urban Institute-- bipartisan funding, bipartisan participation-- conducted a nationwide study over a number of years and concluded unequivocally that there was unequal treatment of minority job seekers. Item number two. In 1991, the Holiday Health Spa Club chain was found to have systematically discriminated against women of color. Item number three. In 1993, Denny's Restaurant settled claims of discrimination because they refused to serve black customers who happened to be six gentlemen guarding the president as Secret Service agents prepared to take a bullet that day to preserve democracy.

Item number four, 1994. The Chevy Chase Bank agrees to an $11 million settlement because they red-lined communities and neighborhoods, or at least were accused of doing it, and refused to go into court to defend themselves, as many other institutions had previously done. Item 5, 1995. The Glass Ceiling Commission concludes that women, Hispanics, and African-Americans are still disproportionately represented among the nation's working poor.

Item 6, 1996. Texaco, the infamous tape where executives are caught loosely making fun of Jewish holidays and black holidays and referring to people as jelly beans of color and talking very, very openly about why it's important not to let those people have an opportunity. And lastly, 1998. Data released under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act showed nationwide that black and Latino borrowers were turned down at increasingly higher rates when applying for mortgage loans. More than 50% of all those who applied were denied loans at banks across this nation. And so, regrettably, discrimination is not an article of the past. It is instead an article of the present.

And so what then really becomes our role in dealing with what we are faced with? We find ourselves living at a time when our sense of community can no longer be taken for granted. That's for sure.

We find ourselves at a time where information technology has made it possible for us to communicate across oceans, across continents, across every conceivable boundary of race and culture, and to do that almost instantaneously. But our technology has almost also made it possible for us to be able to live and work in complete isolation from our neighbors and fellow citizens. Things have changed. It'd be nice to be like these birds. Just fly around all day long. You know?


Have a little bite to eat on that table and fly up to the balcony. But things have changed.


The common experiences that have made us recognize each other as members of a community of Americans are becoming less common each year. Scab labor, unbridled poverty, second-class citizenship, and violent crime chip away at that sense of community every day. Hate speech, hate groups, hate radio, and hate crimes are attempting to divide those same communities like never before, and yet we know if we lose that sense of community, that same community that Martin King spoke about from an old Birmingham jail, we lose much of what has made America distinctive among the nations of the world.

As foreign visitors have observed since the beginning of this republic, America's greatest strength has been her identity as a group and a collection of different people whose common destiny was more powerful than their diverse backgrounds or stations in life. And that is why people in this country, under the umbrella of the NAACP and hundreds of other groups, have always made an attempt to try to communicate across lines of race, class, age, and religion. It's not because they were foolish or foolhardy. It's because they understood the fact that it is harder to accept that the road less traveled is the road less certain, but it is the proper road for us to be on anyway.

It is that path that Randall talked about that we beat out of the wilderness that makes a difference. The really, really understanding of what it means to be on a road less traveled, where there are not street lights and paved sidewalks, where there is at each turn some degree of uncertainty, but certainly at the end of the road, if we are persistent, a great deal of satisfaction. That opposite path, the one that's paved and well lit, the one that we think has no curves-- that's a path of cynicism, contempt, distrust, and suspicion. It is best espoused by the Timothy McVays of this world. And that road, to be sure, leads to separatism, suspicion, division, and destruction.

And so collectively and individually, our charge has been renewed, regrettably, by an old plague that has come back to America, a plague that has resurfaced with great abandon, a national scourge, if you will, of insensitivity and intolerance, whether it is the repugnant act of burning black churches or desecrating synagogues, whether it is increased violence from militia groups or bombings of federal buildings or demonstrations against immigrants simply because they cannot speak as we do. Tolerance, for too many, has once again become a dirty word.

You look at what happened out there in Laramie, Wyoming. The student matriculating-- and because someone thought they should determine what his sexual preference ought to be decided that they and not God had the right to take his life. Look what happened in June in Jasper, Texas. 300 miles from nowhere, James Byrd Jr, on a street corner trying to get home, gets grabbed and drug by a truck for three miles until his arms and neck and limbs are dismembered because he just happened to be black. No, if Dr. King were here, he'd remind us that Jim Crow Sr. is dead, but Jim Crow Jr. is alive and well.


And so the great moral challenge for all of us is to separate the truth from the trick, and the challenge rests on our shoulders because in an era of smaller vision, rampant apathy, and celebrated mediocrity, we so desperately need those men and women who will stand up and speak out for that which is right and to fight back against that which is wrong, to really mean it when we say that racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism are wrong, to know as a matter of critical fact that black bigotry is just as cruel and evil as white bigotry, to understand intuitively that xenophobia and homophobia and immigrant-bashing and union-bashing and city-bashing deplete us as a nation. They rob us of some lofty place in history and relegate us back to where we have been and regrettably, in many respects, are still now.

And so in speaking out as Dr. King would speak out, we must be honest and true to our own sense of fairness, for the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie. That's deliberate. It's contrived. It's dishonest. The great enemy of the truth very often is the myth because that is persistent and persuasive and unrealistic.

Too often, we hold fast to the conclusions of other people. We subject all facts to a kind of pre-fabricated set of interpretations. As my grandmother said, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. And yet we have spent 5,000 years as a race of human beings trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truths and moral absolutes, and yet in its purest form, truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder. It is, as Martin Luther King reminded us, a howling reproach. And what Moses brought down from Mount Sinai 2,000 years ago was not the 10 suggestions, but rather a blueprint for life.


Marabel Gomez said it earlier, and I think it bears repeating as we talk and remember and reflect on the life of Dr. King, those words that said that we-- we-- are confronted with the fierce urgency of now and that in this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there really is such a thing as being too late, for procrastination is still the great thief of time. And so consequently, students, the degree that you will one day receive from MIT will, in fact, represent many things. It will be a reward for your academic excellence. It will be a reminder of a debt that you can never repay your parents.


It will be both a source of relief and respect to your professors. But more than anything, it will be a license to learn. And so age has given me the arrogance and experience has given me the urgency to tell you what life looks like from my side of the river. My generation was the first to think that we might not have any time at all, and your generation is the first to be born knowing it.

And so there will be those beyond these doors and beyond this activity today who will counsel you to be silent in this reactionary time. They will suggest, students, that you look the other way and hope for the best. But I refuse to stand mute when opportunity is denied and justice is deferred, and I challenge you not to stand mute also.

And so when the timid come running to you to say that they fear even to try anymore, we must reply as Martin Luther King did from an old Birmingham jail that now is the time. When you are told to wait for tomorrow or the next tomorrow, for the next election or the next generation, we must reply that now is the time.

I believe and I humbly submit to you this morning that we must use this occasion, this glittering reminder of the success of our experience, to recommit ourselves to sharing a basic dream. It is the dream of Martin Luther King and Fannie Lou Hamer, the dream of Dubois and Washington and Tubman and Douglass, the dream of all those nameless and faceless people who made their bodies bridges over generations that you might run across and one day get to the university. And we must do that not just through our prose, our poetry, or our prayers, but also through our actions-- action which removes a large part of our distress by changing the conditions around us that created it.

And so as I go to my seat, let me say to you, and again remind myself, that I have not given up on the American idea or the American possibility. And I, like Dr. King, would urge you not to give up also. I am convinced that this nation still stands before the world as perhaps the last expression of a possibility of mankind devising a social order where justice is the supreme ruler and law is but its instrument, where freedom is the dominant creed and order but its principle, where equity is the common practice and fraternity the true human condition, and to take that belief and to run with it beyond this university, beyond your years of youth, and beyond all else, and to make a real difference in this nation and in your generation. And I challenge you, as Dr. King would, to do that right now.

And when they saw him from afar, even before he had come near to them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, behold, the dreamer cometh. Come now, therefore, and let us slay him. We will cast him into some old pit and say that some evil beast has devoured him, and we shall see what becomes of his dream. Thank you.


SMITH: Thank you again, the honorable Kweisi Mfume, for his inspiring words. We really appreciate listening to them, and I know as a student, I can take a lot of that back and use it in my future life. So thank you again. Please [INAUDIBLE].


I now have the honor of introducing Chancellor Lawrence S. Bachau, who will present the 1999 MLK Leadership Awards. Chancellor Bachau.


BACHAU: Thank you, Shana. Thank you very much, Shana. First, I would like to thank the committee for the privilege and honor of being able to be here today to present these awards. This is a day in which we not only remember Dr. King, remember his teachings, remember his legacy, but we also honor him by recognizing those members of our community who through their actions and their deeds have really embraced and personified his ideals, who have, in Randall's words, found their own way, their path, who've created their own road.

In doing so, we recognize a member of our faculty, we recognize one of our alumni, and we recognize one of our students among us. In many ways, I think this is a fitting tribute that we look across MIT to the various generations that are represented within our community.

Before I would like to call up our honorees today, however, I have to say something not as chancellor, but rather as a member of our faculty. And I really direct my comments largely in response to, I think, the remarkable words of Randall, the remarkable words of Maribel. Those of us who have the privilege of teaching here at MIT really bear an extraordinary responsibility because we are entrusted with absolutely extraordinary students. And you see today before you not only in our student speakers, but also in our students and our alumni who we are about to honor the great privilege that we have, and indeed, the great burden and responsibility that we take among ourselves to try and lead, to guide, and to inspire.

There are times in which I think that as faculty at MIT, we should be required to take the Hippocratic oath. First, do no harm. We really have such remarkable students, and they constantly remind us what a truly remarkable place this is. Randall, Mirabel, thank you again for your inspiring words.


Our first honoree today is a member of our faculty-- Alex Slocum. Alex, would you please come up here?


Alex is a remarkable person in many different dimensions. He happens to be one of our most gifted teachers at MIT. He happens to be one of our most-- and I mean this warmly, Alex-- unusual personalities and distinctive personalities at MIT. And I think Alex embraces the very best of what we hope an MIT faculty member would be-- a scholar of the first rank, an inspiring teacher, and somebody who also pays extraordinary attention to his students.

I would like to read to you from the letter from Dr. Vest that recognizes Alex for his accomplishments. In his letter of nomination, Professor [INAUDIBLE]-- this is Alex's department head-- mechanical engineering-- cited your innovative and intellectually captivating efforts with MIT minority students, and particularly your work on activities sponsored by the Urban Design Corps in the engineering design workshop of the second summer program. Creating and developing products under your supervision has been an invaluable experience for many young people from diverse backgrounds.

As an enthusiastic teacher and caring mentor, you have helped these aspiring engineers and designers to acquire the knowledge and skills that lead not only to greater self-confidence, but also to academic and professional success. These generous and lasting contributions to the lives of your students embody the essence of Dr. King's philosophy and vision. Alex, it's my privilege to recognize you today as one of the winners of the Martin Luther King Achievement Award. Congratulations.


SLOCUM: Oh, cool. Thanks, Larry. I appreciate it. I wrote a little poem inspired by Mr. Mfume because I usually do things kind of at the moment, take what I have, and try to build a road with it. So let me try this. To win a battle, the pen is mightier than the sword. To build a road, we will find that the bite is mightier than the bulldozer. Two extraordinary students started me on my road-- Mark Graham, who's over here somewhere-- Mark, stand up for a minute, please-- and Marty Culpepper, who I think Mr. Mfume met at dinner last night.

I was just your average, ordinary geek patenting away, having fun. And these two young people made me realize that there's a big wilderness, and if we build this road, everybody can be a lot happier. So we have partnered to create what we call the Urban Design Corps. Just like the Peace Corps strove to provide basic needs and things for people who didn't have food or clothing and shelter, we hope to build on the internet what we call the Urban Design Corps, a place where we will teach people to create, where they can take their creations and post them where businesses can then take those creations and employ people and create jobs.

We're going to harness the power of creativity, we believe, throughout the world to help all people lift themselves up. That is our dream, and that dream is kind of inspired by Dr. King, so we have a little poem that we wrote for him too. And I'll finish with that because I'm only allowed I think 47 more seconds.


His dream was dedicated to our parents. They gave us life. They shielded us from strife. They are why we must carry on. His dream was dedicated to our everlasting souls. This is why we will work into the night. This is why we will work for what is right. This is what bring us into God's fold.

His dream was dedicated to our children. They renew the life within us. They drive our problems from us. They are why we must stay on the right path. His dream was dedicated to the Almighty, who gave us ambition and drive, who gave us the ability to create, not stagnate, who we will not let down. Thank you.


Can I give this to Mr. Mfume?

BACHAU: Absolutely.

SLOCUM: Should I do the one picture? OK. Mr. Mfume, can you come back up, please? Pretty please?


What I would like to do is present you with what we think will be our kickoff CD for the Urban Design Corps. It's called "The Journey of the Lost Souls," and it was written by Mark Graham. And we actually have a tape, too, so you can listen to this on the way back. And the poem for your view. And then another fun student I've had the privilege of knowing-- [INAUDIBLE], are you around anywhere? He here today?

MFUME: There he is.

SLOCUM: He created this fantastic poster, and we've inscribed on it "The Journey of the Lost Souls" poem. And I think it very clearly shows what path we want to create. And I think, [INAUDIBLE], the big version of it you have out on display in lobby 7, right?




Well, we'll find it. Thank you.

MFUME: Thank you.

SLOCUM: For you, sir.

MFUME: Thank you.


BACHAU: Thank you, Alex, for being Alex.


Our next honoree is Richard Williamson. Richard, would you please come up?


Richard is an alumnus, MIT class of 1987. Richard--


BACHAU: '85. My instructions were wrong. 1985. Richard has chosen a relatively unusual path for an MIT alumnus, and that is that most of the world tends to think of us-- and I'm an alumnus as well, so I can say us-- as engineers, as scientists, as geeks. Richard, however, has made his way in the world in a different way. He is a teacher in the Boston public schools, and not just any kind of a teacher. Richard teaches at an alternative school, a school of his choosing, a school which is for young men and women who have been expelled from the Boston public schools.

Richard has chosen a path where he can really have an influence on the lives of people who are, in many cases, most in need of inspiration, of leadership, of support, and he has done so in a way that has touched the lives of many of Boston's youth. In addition to his activities as a teacher in the Boston public schools-- I have to pull out Richard's card, which I think is wonderful-- Richard has also formed another organization to help Boston's youth which has the absolutely wonderful and inspiring name of God's Posse Incorporated.


I read to you from the letter of award from Dr. Vest to Richard. In his letter of nomination, Dr. Ramon E. Samuel of Brigham and Women's Hospital cited your unwavering commitment and selfless service to young people in the neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester. Your efforts as a teacher, mentor, and community leader have brought hope and inspiration to the lives of promising young people who otherwise may have been lost, neglected, or forgotten.

Your outstanding work and strong contributions are a fitting tribute to the legacy of Dr. King and to all who passionately believe in the great tradition of education and service. Richard, in giving you this award today, I want you to know that through your work, you honor all of MIT, its alumni, and all the people that serve our great community. Congratulations.


WILLIAMSON: I'm reminded of the preacher that said when Jesus was coming into the town of Jerusalem and the crowds were cheering and worshipping him that the donkey realized that the praise was for the Lord and not for him, and I feel like that donkey.

Scriptures teach to whom much is given, much is required. And I felt that I'd been one who's been blessed and given much, and so I felt it my obligation to seek a way to give back, not knowing how, not knowing that path to take. But I had the opportunity to come to MIT and to be taught by this illustrious faculty and to learn some things that challenge me and taught me that anything is possible if you work hard at it. And God opened up doors for me to be able to leave here and go into the Roxbury community and work with young men, particularly young men who are considered the throwaways, the castaways, the super-predators, those whom the prisons are being built for, those who institutions are not looking forward to them coming, and to see in them the potential for our country, to see in them a leadership, to see in them gifts and talents and abilities, to see in them the gift of God.

And God has privileged me with the ability to be able to reach them, teach them, and to lead them, and I thank God for that opportunity and that privilege. I'd like to acknowledge this morning also my co-founder, Mr. Chris Womack, who I work with in God's Posse. Can you stand up, please?


And two young men that I work with, Mr. Steven Maguire, who's a member of God's Posse, and Mr. Daniel Davis, who is a senior at Community Academy in Roxbury where I work. Finally, I'd just like to say Dr. King said a man is not worthy to live until he's found something worth dying for, and I found in these young men, young men in the streets of Boston, something worth dying for. Thank you.


BACHAU: Thank you, Richard. Our third honoree, Adriana Ogi. Adriana, would you please come up?


Now, I have to tell something which most people in this room just know from having been around this place. But for our visitors, I have to share with you the fact that MIT students probably work harder and longer than any other people in any other job on the face of the planet. In fact, we have an expression at MIT that if you can't get your work done in 24 hours in a day, start working nights.

So it's all the more remarkable when one encounters a student like Adriana, who, in spite of bearing the burden of an extraordinarily challenging curriculum, in spite of having accomplished academically at an extraordinarily high level, still manages to find time amidst all of her other activities to serve her community and to do so with grace and with honor and with dignity, and to find time for others who are less fortunate and to find time to pass on the tradition and inspired others so that they may accomplish someday as she has done as well.

I read to you from Adriana's letter of award. In her letter of nomination, Dean Anne Davis Shaw, advisor to the National Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, cited the depth of your commitment to helping fellow students in the MIT community. Your outstanding work as a leader has motivated many peers, and you have contributed effectively to a range of student organizations. As a calculus teacher's assistant with the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program-- MITES-- you inspired 30 talented secondary school students to strive for higher academic goals.

Equally admirable is your ability to be fully engaged in your own scholarship while never losing sight of the needs of others. The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee believes that you represent much of what Dr. King wanted for all youth in this society. Your dedication to his vision is a fitting tribute to that legacy. Adriana, you represent a community of scholars, a community of students who themselves, each and every one, are extraordinary, and even among this extraordinary group, you stand out. Congratulations.


OGI: Thank you. I am very honored to receive this award, and I would like to thank the MLK Committee and the OME staff for all of their hard work and efforts in making this event a success. I never thought that my name would be associated with such an excellent individual as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When I think of Dr. King and the motivation he possessed, it makes me ask myself, what else can I do to become a better leader?

Whether I become a professor in the future or whether I decide to work in industry, I always want to keep Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's characteristics in mind. During the years when Dr. King was at the top of the civil rights movement leading hundreds of people, he never became power hungry. I deeply admire him for that, and I pray that in times of success and achievement, humility will not be forgotten.

What I admire the most about Dr. King is that God always came first in his life. When there were struggles, he would pray to God to give him strength and patience. And I'm sure that when things were going well, his first instinct was to thank God for his blessings. These are things that I always want to keep close to my heart. I accept this award with gratitude. I also accept it as a challenge to continue in my path to educate myself as well as others, and at the same time, never forget the important things in life-- humility and faith in God. Thank you.


BACHAU: Before I turn things back to Shana, I just wanted to add one more comment and observation. I, too, would like to thank Mr. Mfume for his truly inspiring remarks, which were delivered with passion, with grace in a way that I think everybody in this room was moved.

We have a problem at MIT, and that is getting students to come to classes at 9 o'clock in the morning, and I think we've discovered a solution. And so I would like to extend an invitation to Mfume that if he can hold a crowd like this at this hour, we'd love to have you teach physics.


Thank you very much.


SMITH: Thank you very much, and congratulations to all the recipients. Now it's my pleasure to introduce Provost Robert A. Brown, who will recognize the 1998-1999 Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors. Provost Brown.


BROWN: Thank you, Shana. This morning has reminded me of an extraordinary number of things, but I think it's reminded us all of the commitment we have to have of building an academic community that exemplifies the path that Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged us to follow.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor Program began in 1994 to bring to MIT outstanding scholars to participate in teaching and research at the Institute and to enrich our community. Appointments to this program are made upon recommendations from the departments and to the provost.

This year, there have been five Martin Luther King, Jr. visiting professors. I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the four individuals who are here this morning and to introduce you, at least through my words, to the fifth. I'll ask each one to stand at the table where I was seated and give you a brief description of them. Dr. Lloyd Dimitrius.


Dr. Dimitrius is visiting in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science. He is with the Department of Biology at Harvard University and is an expert in mathematics and biophysics and in the wonderful world of nonlinear dynamical systems. His research at MIT has spanned across biology, chemistry, in brain and cognitive science, and is now taking him into bioengineering and chemical engineering this spring. His teaching has been in the course evolutionary psychology in BSC, co-taught with Professor Stephen Pinker, truly integrated in the community.

Let me introduce Mr. Sterling Hunter. Sterling?


Mr. Hunter is a visiting professor of management in the Sloan School, where his research is focusing on organizational design and organizational consequences of information theory. At MIT, Mr. Hunter is also interested in the virtual organization. His teaching has been in the graduate subject in strategic management.

Let me introduce Dr. Linda Jordan. Linda.


Dr. Jordan is visiting the Department of Chemistry. She's currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Her research is in the area of human biochemistry and expertise is in enzymes, especially in the enzyme that affects diseases in man, including arthritis, asthma, pulmonary disorders, and cancer. At MIT, she's focused on research, along with undergraduate students, on cloning a specific enzyme and examining its structural properties. Dr. [INAUDIBLE]

Let me introduce Dr. Pamela McCarley Bell. Pamela.


Pamela is visiting in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She's currently an associate professor in industrial engineering and management systems in the University of Central Florida. Her research focuses on the development of intelligent software and predictive models to address information warfare, information security, and human factors problems. She's worked here in the field of human impact of information security, where she's brought her expertise to a range of groups in the aero-astro department, including the human factors groups and the group focused on intelligence systems. She's been teaching a seminar on information security, and she's served as the advisor to seven freshmen and two graduate students while here.

Not with us today is Dr. Arnold Stancel, who visited this fall in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He's a professor currently at the Georgia Institute of Technology and has returned this spring to teach there. While at MIT, he brought to bear his enormous experience. Arnie spent 31 years at Mobil before coming back into the academic profession. While here, he consulted on energy issues in the Energy Lab, helped supervise graduate students, and taught in a core thermodynamics course in chemical engineering.

Each of these individuals has enriched the environment in MIT enormously over their time here, and we look forward to, in many cases, the time they have left with us. Thank you.


SMITH: Thank you, Provost Brown, for recognizing our faculty. We will now continue with some announcements that are relevant to this morning's celebration. First, there will be an installation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Design Project in Lobby 7 at 11:00 AM. [INAUDIBLE] will be performing at noon in Lobby 7 also. There will be a conference called "Sisters in Cyberspace Youth Conference" held here at the Institute on February 6.

Finally, they will-- oh, excuse me there. Fourthly, there will be a presentation in the Black Student Union, which is right through those doors, hosted by the Installation Committee from 4 to 5 PM today. Finally, the South Mass Choir will be performing in Lobby 7 also at 5 PM. So I hope you all can attend those events. Now I'd like to introduce Champlain Betsy Draper, who will offer the benediction for the close of this morning's program. Champlain Draper?

DRAPER: May everyone stand together, please? May we pray. Oh, God and father of humankind, forgive our foolish ways. May our renewal today starve the beast of racism and favoritism, never to devour the dream of justice for all. May our actions, our conduct, our words, our deeds nourish the dream and to the reality of harmony.

Today, we ask for courage to serve and to continue to serve, to never give up as components of change for good in an ever-changing world. We ask for direction. We ask for your sustaining presence as we rally round the standard of blind equality, leaving behind in the pit our desires for blind power and pride. Oh, God and father of humankind, we look forward to a better day. We ask these things. Amen.

SMITH: Well, originally we had scheduled for the MIT Gospel Choir to sing, but now we are going to move on to just a closing. I hope-- you may all be seated. You may all be

Seated. I hope you all have enjoyed this morning's program as much as I have and have taken a moment to reflect and remember Dr. King and the life and the legacy that he has left behind. Thank you all for coming, and of course, we hope to see you next year. And this concludes the 25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Thank you.