Top: Lori Mitchell Gray and Jeremy Isaacs greeted audience members following their inspiring vocal performance in “The Road to Freedom.”
Bottom: Laurie Cannady and Albert Jones, far left, stand with the 2012 recipients of the Meriam B. Harris Excellence Award: Students Scarlette Gaudin and Chani Carroll, Jared Conti and Josh Grimes of Avenue 209, and Professor Janet Irons.
LHU honors Martin Luther King
and The Road to Freedom
Jan. 30, 2012
The Lock Haven University community honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 25 with a special interactive, multi-media performance in Price Auditorium. “The Road to Freedom” celebrated the long history of the Civil Rights movement, focusing on the contributions of those individuals who led the way.
The celebration began with a Spoken Word presentation. LHU student Derek Rodriguez read an original poem, “Dreams,” which dealt with the universal dreams of equality, dignity and freedom.
The event also marked the inaugural presentation of the Meriam B. Harris Excellence Award. Named in honor of first African American female to receive a teaching degree from Lock Haven University (Lock Haven Normal School), this award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to diversity both on campus and in the community. Dr. Laurie Cannady, chair of The President's Commission on the Status of Faculty, Administration, Students, and Staff of Color (FASSt), presented awards to Chani Carroll and Scarlette Gaudin, LHU students; Dr. Janet Irons, professor and chair of the History, Political Science, Economics, Geography and Foreign Language Department; and Jared Conti and Josh Grimes of Avenue 209 coffeehouse, venue for many town-gown events promoting diversity. The Meriam B. Harris Excellence Awards will be presented annually.
“The Road to Freedom” was an informative and inspiring production. While the audience watched slides and video of the struggle for civil rights, live commentary traced the contributions of courageous and outspoken leaders from Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman to Rosa parks and Martin Luther King. As featured singers Lori Mitchell Gray and Jeremy Isaacs performed a variety of songs, from gospel songs to modern classics, audience members were invited to clap and sing along in the spirit of unity and brotherhood. Songs included “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Stand by Me” and “Down by the Riverside.”
At the end of the performance, audience members were reminded that “the journey continues.” “The Road to Freedom” inspired all who participated, and ended with the dual message of love and hope.
Albert Jones, director of Social Equity, gave welcoming remarks and presided over the celebration.
Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.