Official Start of the Spring Semester

Held at the start of the spring semester, Winter Convocation welcomes and celebrates it’s students back to campus. The event also celebrates the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by featuring a speaker or performance that ties the legacy of the civil rights movement to current events.

Organized by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Winter Convocation prominently features Susquehanna’s students, who often provide music during the event.

2024 Winter Convocation

Commemorating the legacy of
the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



Jonathan Green
University President



Led by Kayla Reed ’26 and Nala Washington ’24
Audience participation is welcome.



Rabbi Nina H. Mandel
Director of Jewish Life



María L. O. Muñoz
Interim Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer  



Breaking Down Walls & Building Bridges
Che “Rhymefest” Kweku
Award-Winning Hip-Hop Artist and Activist


Words by James Weldon Johnson,
music by J. Rosemond Johnson, arr. by Lloyd Larson

Lift Every Voice and Sing was publicly performed first as a poem during a celebration of President Lincoln’s birthday in 1900, by hundreds of African American schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School in Florida. Later set to music as an uplifting spiritual, it became a way for African Americans to express their patriotism and hope for the future.

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

(Audience joins)
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

2024 Lecture: Breaking Down Walls & Building Bridges 

Che “Rhymefest” Kweku

One of hip-hop’s most respected artists, Rhymefest is a writer, artist, activist and teacher known for shattering negative stereotypes about hip-hop and establishing himself as a positive role model for underprivileged youth. As co-founder, president and CEO of the Chicago nonprofit organization Art of Culture, he mentors, teaches writing classes and exposes youth to various career options in music and business.

Rhymefest won two Grammy awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award and was the subject of the powerful documentary, In My Father’s House. He was recognized for his hip-hop pedagogy by New York University’s Hip Hop Education Center and in 2016, he was selected as one of Chicago Magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year. He was the first hip-hop artist to be named a prestigious Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and in 2023, he was named a fellow with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

2024 Susquehanna University Winter Convocation Guest Speaker Che Rhymefest Kweku


A special thank you to Athletics, Dining Services, Event Management, Leadership & Engagement, Marketing & Communications and TRiO for their assistance with tonight’s program.

MLK Planning Committee

Samuel Awad ’25, Frank Crofchick, Rayna Custis ’24, Amy Davis, Madison Dennehey ’24, Michelle Harman, Stephanie Johnson, Scott Kershner, Carla Krissinger, Nina Mandel, Kayla Reed ’26, Rachana Sachdev, Dena Salerno and Nala Washington ’24.

Susquehanna University will capture video and audio from this event for archival purposes.  

Join Us for More Events

Winter Convocation is the first of several university-sponsored events celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his pursuit of social justice. Join us for upcoming sessions, discussions and service opportunities.

Lunch and Learn Sessions*

All presentations will be in the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center. *Capacity is limited; sign up here.

Disrupting the Expected by Tim Seibles and Jennifer Fish
Friday, Jan. 26 at 12:30 p.m.
Shearer Dining Rooms

Gender & Sexuality Alliance
Led by student organization members
Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 11:30 a.m.
Apple Meeting Rooms

Black Student Union
Led by student organization members
Thursday, Feb. 1 at 11:30 a.m.
Apple Meeting Rooms

Interfaith Service

Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 4:30 p.m.
Stretansky Concert Hall, Cunningham Center for Music & Art

This celebration brings together student speakers and community leaders from diverse religious, spiritual and secular traditions.

Related Events

Brian Terrell Clark speaks during MLK Week

MLK Week

We mark the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weeklong slate of events that unite the campus and local community.

Students attend Opening Convocation.

Opening Convocation

A new academic year begins and our incoming students join as a class for the very first time.

This is a photo of the Class of 2022 walking and smiling before commencement.


As the most significant occasion for students, everyone comes together with pomp and circumstance to celebrate the academic success of our graduates.

2024 Winter Convocation Photos 

Winter Convocation 2024