Inspirational football coach, focus of 'Remember The Titans,' is Fairfield University's Martin Luther King Convocation speaker



Image: Herman BooneHerman Boone, an inspirational high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in the Disney film, 'Remember the Titans,' will deliver the keynote address at Fairfield University's 2012 MLK Convocation, a major event of the campus-wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration. Free and open to the public, the event will take place on Thursday, January 26, at 3 p.m. in the Quick Center for the Arts.

On Friday, January 20, the University's Friday Night Movie Series will feature a free screening of 'Remember the Titans' in Gonzaga Auditorium at 10 p.m. The film depicts the true story of Boone, an African-American, and his high school team during their first season as a racially integrated group.

"The team saved the city of Alexandria, [Virginia]," President Richard M. Nixon was quoted as saying in the wake of the team's undefeated season.

In his talk, Boone, 76, plans to recall the racial tensions that ran high in 1971 at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, as three schools merged to form a newly integrated one. Remarkably, Coach Boone was able to pull together and solidify a diverse coaching staff and an unfocused group of young men into one of the most powerful football teams in the state of Virginia, winning the Virginia State Championship. This team was ranked second in the nation. The willingness of the young men to talk to each other, along with their determination to win, brought together a city torn apart by prejudice and hatred, event organizers said.

The Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) is co-sponsoring the convocation with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance Committee. Rob Vogel, president of FUSA, said the event will be part of the Featured Speakers series. "I'm very happy FUSA is able to help bring Mr. Boone to campus," Vogel said. "I think students will be excited to listen to him speak. He'll likely create a lot of buzz for convocation and for such a wholesome series of events."

At the convocation, Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., University President, will present Boone with the John LaFarge S.J. Award, named in honor of Fr. LaFarge, a longtime advocate for civil rights who founded the Catholic Interracial Council of New York which, as a model for similar councils throughout the U.S., led to creation of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice in 1960. He was also actively involved in groups promoting better interfaith relations. Boone even has an award named after him. The upcoming U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is a game between high school All-American seniors from the East and West side of the country, presents the Herman Boone Trophy, given to the team who wins the game.

Remembered as one of the world's greatest advocates for social justice and equality, Dr. King's legacy will live on through a nearly two week celebration taking place at Fairfield January 17-27. An array of events centered on the theme ''Remember The Dream - It's Our Time To Act" are planned. For more information, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/student/sd_mlk.html.

 

Image: Fairfield University's MLK Convocation will take place on Thursday, January 26, at 3 p.m. with keynote speaker Herman Boone, an inspirational high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in the Disney film, 'Remember the Titans.'

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 4, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 155