Author, leadership consultant headlines Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at Utah Valley University

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 |

Written by: Jay Wamsley

Activities associated with the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at Utah Valley University have been announced, highlighted with an address by Stedman Graham, author and leadership consultant.

Commemoration of the birthday of Dr. King will be held Jan. 17-18 at UVU. Highlights of the celebration include a service project Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Grande Ballroom, Sorensen Student Center. Graham’s keynote address is set for Wednesday, Jan. 18, at noon, in the Grande Ballroom, as well.

Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in corporate and educational markets. Graham has authored 11 books, including two “New York Times” best-sellers, “You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success” and “Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success.” His latest release, “Identity: Your Passport to Success,” has been on the “Wall Street Journal” best-seller list.

He served in the U.S. Army and played basketball professionally in Europe. Graham holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University, a master’s degree in education from Ball State University, and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Coker College.

Toni Harris, an assistant dean at UVU and member of the MLK Commemoration Organizing Committee, said Graham is “extremely well-known in business and training circles” and that he was a good fit for the underlying theme the committee was hoping to present with the 2017 activities. The theme for the commemorative activities is “Tell Me Your Dream.”

“With our theme, we wanted to look not so much to the past, but to the future of the dream, the future of civil rights,” Harris said. “We want to carry on with the message that Dr. King began.”

Following Graham’s keynote, students and guests are also invited to join him for an Identity Leadership workshop from 2-4 p.m. in SC 206.

Harris said this leadership workshop — open to students, faculty and guests — is a real bonus to Graham’s visit to UVU. She said the message behind the workshop will be urging attendees to “discover their own identity and to use that to overcome societal scripting” and to use new-found strengths to emerge with a stronger personal identity to improve their quality of life.

There will also be five student-run forums from 4-5 p.m. on topical subjects surrounding civil rights.

Summer Valente, director of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center at UVU, said the service activity will consist of five major “community partners” offering on-site service projects in the Sorenson ballroom and commons area. She said students and guests can participate for “as little or as much time as they have” during the two-hour block of time on Tuesday.

The service partners, Valente noted, include Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County, Kids on the Move, Days for Girls, and Community Action. Projects range from assembling coloring and song books to making stuffed animals for children.

Valente said there will be refreshments — a birthday cake — and a timeline of the American civil rights era and Dr. King’s impact on history. There will also be booths from the UVU Service Council to showcase opportunities for students to give service all year long.

“The whole idea behind the Martin Luther King commemoration,” Harris reminded, “ is that every student, every individual at UVU should feel empowered, should feel supported and should feel motivated to reach their dreams.

“This commemoration is one of the events on our campus that shows that students can learn and explore without fear of feeling different or marginalized in any way.”

Fourth region (Section 1)