Service, Music Highlight Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 11, 2012) – Though Jan. 16 kicks off the first week of the spring 2012 semester at Saint Joseph’s University, no classes will be held Monday. Instead, student-athletes will come together in service to others as part of SJU’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration. The 2012 holiday marks the 26th anniversary of the holiday’s national observance – it was first officially celebrated on Jan. 18, 1986.

Each year, SJU hosts the day of service and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration in memory of the civil rights leader and his commitment to serving others. While over 250 members of SJU’s athletic teams and 40 student service leaders leave campus to take part in the day of service, members of SJU and the surrounding communities are invited to celebrate the holiday in the Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena, formerly known as Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, where decades earlier on Oct. 26, 1967, King addressed 3,400 SJU students, faculty and community members.

The 25th annual “A Day On, Not a Day Off” birthday celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will begin at 10 a.m. with a commissioning ceremony led by Don DiJulia, director of athletics, and a prayer. Presented by State Representative Louise Williams Bishop, mistress of ceremonies, with James A. Bishop, Jr. as master of ceremonies, the event will feature performances by the Brockington Ensemble, Carol Jackson and the Singers, the Metropolitan Male Chorus and the Enon Baptist Church Choir. The event will end at 3 p.m.

Following the commissioning ceremony, the SJU athletes will participate at community service locations throughout the city. The men’s and women’s tennis teams will work on painting and clean-up at Olivet Baptist Church in Mantua, while the golf team cleans and paints at Clyde Corporation in West Philadelphia; men’s lacrosse and soccer will do the same at the Horticultural Society in West Philadelphia, and the baseball team at ARC of Philadelphia.

In addition, men’s and women’s rowing will clear the Ivy Ridge Trail; women’s lacrosse will serve at Our Lady of Lourdesat 63rd Street and Lancaster Ave.; and the field hockey and softball teams will visit and play games with residents at Saunders House and Simpson House, respectively.

"Saint Joseph's University is delighted to share in the message and philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day," says Patricia Martin, director of government and community relations at SJU. "This day will be not only a celebration of Dr. King's life, but also one devoted to serving our neighbors and the community."

SJU was recognized last year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as one of 115 colleges and universities nationwide to earn the 2010 Community Engagement Classification for its academic distinction, curricular engagement and “exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.”

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