January 17, 2019
For Dr. James Noble, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is more than a celebration of one man.
It’s a recognition of the Christian principles Dr. King represented during his life.
“The greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind, and then to love your neighbor as you love yourself,” Dr. Noble said.
Embracing Christ’s commandment is the goal as Anderson University honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a celebration of diversity and community service starting Monday, Jan. 21.
Dr. Noble serves as Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Anderson University and is a professor in the College of Christian Studies. He said that a commitment to a diverse student body is an important principle in AU’s values. His vision is to strengthen bonds between people on campus by creating opportunities that bring students and the wider community together.
That’s where the Anderson University Connect Club comes in. The student-led organization is devoted to fostering a university that celebrates and promotes diversity through education, empowerment and love, said Jordan Anderson, who serves as the Connect Club’s president.
“We believe education can’t be furthered without diversity,” Anderson said. He said that the Connect Club wants to bring people of different races, majors and backgrounds together.
That’s a goal Dr. King would have embraced; Dr. Noble said he was crucial in establishing integration within education, a vision that’s represented among AU’s faculty, staff and students.
“When we look at Anderson University today, we are integrated. Whites and blacks and other ethnicities can learn together here at an academic institution. I believe this is a direct result of the impact that Dr. King made on society in America,” Dr. Noble said.
“Martin Luther King Jr. inspired and impacted so many more people by being himself and by being who God created him to be,” Anderson said. “For our club, that has been something we have been drawn to: not trying so hard to mirror anything or anyone else so that we may be our authentic selves. That will have an incredible impact and reach people on our campus.”
Anderson University has many more plans and upcoming events that remain true to their mission to create a safe and supportive environment for everyone.
Upcoming, of course, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It begins begin with a worship service at 10 a.m. in Henderson Auditorium. Area resident Cladys P. Harrison, a civil rights activist and 1961 Freedom Rider, is the guest of honor with a keynote address by Rev. James C. Clark, pastor of Wilson Calvary Baptist Church in Anderson.
During the afternoon, AU students are organizing service projects in which members of the campus community are volunteering at local non-profits and churches.
The Connect Club concludes the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration by sponsoring two events: a film screening of “Loving,” a poignant portrayal of interracial relationships, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Theater; and a “Dessert and Discussion” where students will address issues of racial justice and reflect on Dr. King’s legacy.
“I believe it is important for students to attend these events because it will help them show love towards one another, even though they may be of different ethnicities,” Dr. Noble said. “By us having these events and by us coming together, we will show the love we have one for another.”
Dr. Noble said Anderson University’s desire to foster a diverse community doesn’t end with organizing events, however. The goal is not only to host events that spotlight our diversity, but also to strengthen its presence within the AU culture.
“Diversity and multi-ethnicity is something I am really passionate about,” Dr. Noble said. “I believe that Gospel-centered racial reconciliation is God’s plan, and the more we focus on that, the better our university will be.”