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SU Presents Second Annual Winter Convocation

Jan. 10, 2008

Author and musician James McBride will be the featured speaker and performer at a daylong celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., when Susquehanna University presents its second annual Winter Convocation on Jan. 21. McBride's speech, titled Our Common Dream, will touch upon the search for identity, appreciating cultural differences and making Martin Luther King's dream a reality in America.

A truncated class schedule will allow all university faculty, staff and students to observe Martin Luther King Day as a community. The formal program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11 a.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium.

McBride, an award-winning writer, composer and saxophonist, is probably best known for his landmark memoir, The Color of Water. The book, a New York Times bestseller for two years, is a moving account of McBride's mother, a Jewish woman from Poland who raised 12 black children in New York City and sent each of them to college.

A native New Yorker, McBride studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University . He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

McBride's second book and first novel, Miracle at St. Anna, is the story of a shy African American soldier set in World War II Italy. It is currently in production and will soon be a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee.

His third book, Song Yet Sung, scheduled for release in early February, is the highly charged story of an escaped female runaway slave in 1850, who desperately eludes a skilled slave catcher through the treacherous swamps of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons will provide opening remarks and will discuss how the legacy of Martin Luther King continues to challenge and inspire all Americans.

The Susquehanna University Orchestra, conducted by Jennifer Sacher Wiley, will perform movement two, Alla Sarabande, from Generations Sinfonietta No. 2 by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, followed by the Susquehanna University Symphonic Band conducted by. Eric L. Hinton, performing movements one and three, Work Song and Dance, from From the Delta by William Grant Still. The Susquehanna University Chorale conducted by Judith White will contribute “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” arranged by William L. Dawson, to the program.

Susquehanna Honors Program students, sophomore writing majors William Paris and Devin Kittrell, will read their essays on the topic of Martin Luther King's dream.

King once said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” In keeping with this philosophy, Susquehanna students, faculty and staff will participate in a number of community service activities that evening.

Participants will travel to Selinsgrove Community Library to read to children; to Grayson View Assisted Living and the Manor at Penn Village to visit with guests and participate in singing, games and crafts; and to Ronald McDonald House and Donald Heiter Community Center to cook and serve meals.

Following their community service, the campus community is invited to a concert by McBride's jazz quintet at 8 p.m. in Stretansky Concert Hall. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

Contact: Francie Camp


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