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MLK Regional Celebration

Saginaw Valley State University has partnered with regional businesses, chambers of commerce and community foundations to work together to present a celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration (Recent Event)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Virtual Keynote Speaker

Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State

Please note the program has moved to a fully online format. All audience members will be able to access the program virtually, and all previous reservations for in-person attendance will transition to the streamed presentation.

This year, 66th Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is the featured guest in a virtual fireside chat, moderated by Dr. Mamie T. Thorns, SVSU associate vice president and chief diversity officer for diversity, equity and inclusion. From January 2005 to January 2009, Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States. She currently serves as the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and professor of political science at Stanford University. Rice is also a founding partner of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, and since September 1, 2020, has served as the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution. She also served as Stanford University’s provost from 1993 to 1999.

Mistress of Ceremonies Tiffany Torain, inclusion, diversity and equity relationship manager at Dow Great Lakes Bay Region, will open the virtual celebration by introducing SVSU President Donald Bachand. Dow's Chief HR Officer & Chief Inclusion Officer, Karen S. Carter, will give the introduction for the fireside chat.

Prior to the fireside chat with Dr. Rice, CEOs from the Bay, Midland and Saginaw Community Foundations will announce MLK Regional Scholarships that have been awarded to local high school seniors. Kenneth Jolly, SVSU professor of history, will introduce a video production created by the student scholarship recipients based on King’s address to the House of Representatives of the First Legislation in the State of Hawaii on September 17, 1959, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Another highlight of the program will be the presentation of the 8th Annual Drum Major Awards, which recognize nominees who selflessly perform daily acts of service in their communities. Delta College President Michael Gavin will deliver remarks on each Drum Major Award recipient. This year’s honorees are Darold Newton, Bay County; Erin Patrice Walker, Midland County; and Waheed Akbar, M.D., Saginaw County.

"Just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful, inspiring, and challenging interview with Dr. Rice last night! That’s the first time I’ve listened to her at length and she’s brilliant. Mamie, you were an awesome interviewer!"

Ken LeCureux

"Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the MLK Jr. Regional Celebration event on Wednesday evening. Your interview with Dr. Rice was extraordinary! You asked great questions and I feel like I learned so much. Dr. Rice’s response about Critical Race Theory was interesting and I would love to get your take on it when our paths cross next. I also thought Ken Jolly and the high school students did a great job. Anyway, thank you for organizing and facilitating this wonderful event. Last year was Van Jones. This year was Condoleezza Rice. You have assembled an impressive pattern of dignitaries and I can’t wait to see who is up next! Thanks again."

James E. Tarr, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education
Saginaw Valley State University

"THANK YOU! It was a unique opportunity for our young people to get a first-hand glimpse into what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. strove so hard to achieve. Some of the comments we received from the teens in attendance included:

  • We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King to remember and we celebrate to inspire.
  • Schools should teach history and our experiences, but not pointing out different races.
  • Diversity is best viewed as different experiences, not just difference of color."
  • A good conversation is had by listening to those that are different from us, not just trying to convince others of our ideas."

Ronda Tousciuk
Program Director / Unit Director
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Great Lakes Bay Region ~ Pinconning Unit

​"Thank you, Dr. Thorns! A wonderful MLK celebration for our enjoyment and enlightenment tonight. Special thanks to the outstanding scholarship students who brought Dr. King to life for us tonight."

Janet Nash


Sponsorship Information

(989) 964-4068

Office of Diversity Services
(989) 964-4068

The Conference Center

(989) 964-4348