History at Puget Sound

The observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has been a tradition at the University of Puget Sound since before it was established as a national holiday in 1986. Prior to the current series of distinguished speakers and celebrations in Kilworth Chapel, the Black Student Union (BSU) presented concerts by local performers and entertainers.

In 1988, the BSU observed the newly proclaimed holiday with a celebration dance, the proceeds of which benefited Disabled United Employment Services and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Since 1989, the University has presented an annual event featuring presentations by students, administrators, and faculty, music from the Bethlehem Baptist and Mt. Zion Baptist choirs, and inspiring words from guest speakers, including Dr. Charles Mitchell, President, Seattle Central Community College; the Hon. Jack Tanner, Federal Court Judge; Dr. Joye Hardiman, Director, The Evergreen State College in Tacoma; Rev. Sam McKinney of Seattle’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church; late Professor Robert Ford, University of Puget Sound; King County Councilman Larry Gossett; and Rev. Dr. Leslie Braxton ‘83 of New Beginnings Church.