Three-day celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Fairfield University

Fairfield University will hold a three-day celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from Jan. 24-26. Events over the three days include the LaFarge Convocation with Dr. Diana L. Hayes, professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University; a dinner honoring four recipients of the Martin Luther King Vision Award and the winners of the Connecticut Post-Fairfield University Martin Luther King Essay Contest; a "Prayers for Peace" Interfaith Service followed by a Peace Festival with folktales by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and a performance by the all-women jazz ensemble, SAGE; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Leadership Workshop at Fairfield.

The "Prayers for Peace" interfaith service opens the commemoration of Dr. King's life on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola. Students, faculty and staff from several faiths will lead the community in prayer.

Following the service will be a Peace Festival in the John A. Barone Campus Center, where Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb will present, "On the Journey Together: Peace and Justice Folktales from Around the World." The first woman ordained in the Jewish Renewal Movement, Rabbi Gottlieb has influenced thousands of Jews through her creativity, artistry, peace activism, feminism, and focus on spiritual meaning. She is the author of the book, "She Who Dwells Within," published by Harper SF. Also performing will be SAGE, the all-women jazz ensemble.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Dr. Diana L. Hayes will deliver the convocation's keynote address, "No Dream Left Behind," at 3 p .m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. In addition to her senior faculty status at Georgetown, Dr. Hayes is the author of several books including, "Were You There?: Stations of the Cross" (Orbis Books, 1999), which won a second place award for spirituality from the Catholic Publishers Association. Dr. Hayes is currently at work on "Forged in the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality" (Orbis) and "Black Catholics in the U.S." (USCCB/Paulist).

A graduate of State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Hayes earned a J.D. from George Washington National Law Center and a baccalaureate and a licentiate in sacred theology from Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. She is the first African-American woman to earn the pontifical doctorate in sacred theology at Louvain.

Dr. Hayes has lectured extensively in the United States, Africa, and Europe. She is the recipient of the 2001 U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Cause of Women in the Church. and the 2003 Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal for outstanding woman theologian from Mount St. Joseph College. During her appearance at Fairfield University, President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., will present her with the John LaFarge, S.J., Award, named in honor of the Rev. John LaFarge, S.J., a leader and spokesperson for the human rights of African-Americans, long before the Civil Rights Movement emerged in the 1960s.

A dinner follows the convocation at 6 p.m. in the Oak Room of the John A. Barone Campus Center. The three top prize winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest, sponsored by the Connecticut Post and Fairfield University for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in Bridgeport, will be announced.

Also announced at the dinner will be four Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Awards to Charles Tisdale, executive director of Action for Bridgeport Development, Inc. (ABCD) of Bridgeport; Barbara Kiernan, director of university publications at Fairfield University; and two women who were instrumental in initiating Fairfield's new diversity grants award program, Fairfield University Alumna Danielle Hawthone of Stratford, and Senior Ashley Toombs of Newburgh, N.Y.

The celebration concludes with a youth leadership workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, in the John A. Barone Campus Center Oak Room. Approximately 125 Bridgeport middle school students will be participating with Fairfield University students assisting with the workshop.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on January 10, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 118

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