University hosts annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Jan. 21

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Risa Zwerling Wrighton to receive 2019 Rosa L. Parks Award

students singing
Members of the university’s Visions Gospel Choir will perform at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration in Graham Chapel. Photo: Sid Hastings/Washington University

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and his wife, Risa Zwerling Wrighton, will receive the 2019 Rosa L. Parks Award for their service to St. Louis’ young people at Washington University in St. Louis’ Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in Graham Chapel.

“As members of the Washington University community, we witness every day the many ways Chancellor Wrighton and Risa care about Washington University students,” said Rudolph Clay, chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration committee and head of library diversity initiatives and outreach services at Olin Library. “The Wrightons are equally committed to young people in the region, especially children with few resources. Both Chancellor Wrighton and Risa Wrighton have supported initiatives and created programs that have improved the education, health and safety of local children.”

During his 24-year tenure, Chancellor Wrighton established the College Prep Program, an innovative program that prepares talented, first-generation high school students for life on a college campus; launched the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, which partners with local schools through its Each One Teach One and K-12 Connections programs; and has supported initiatives at the Brown School and School of Medicine that bring medical and mental health services into schools and communities.

Risa Zwerling Wrighton spearheaded a gun violence initiative at the Institute for Public Health after Chelsea Harris, a student whom she mentored, was killed by gunfire. Over the past four years, the initiative has brought together research universities, community leaders and citizens to develop real solutions to help reduce death and injury from firearms.

Chancellor Wrighton and wife Risa Zwerling Wrighton in Brookings Quadrangle following the 2018 Convocation. Photo by Sid Hastings / Washington University

The commemoration also will feature keynote speaker Barbara A. Reynolds, an ordained minister, veteran journalist and co-author of the memoir “Coretta Scott King: My Life, My Love, My Legacy.”

In addition, the event will include remarks from Chancellor-elect Andrew D. Martin, Provost Holden Thorp, Association of Black Students President Jasmine S. Pickens and Student Union President Grace Egbo, as well as performances by Black Anthology, Visions Gospel Choir, the Washington University Chamber Choir and organist Harry V. Moppins.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Danforth University Center garage.


School of Medicine celebration

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, senior fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, will be the guest speaker at the School of Medicine’s celebration, taking place at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in the Eric P. Newman Education Center, 320 S. Euclid Ave.

Jones is an expert on the impact of racism on health and an advocate for both universal high-quality medical care and policies that address the social determinants of health and equity.

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