Devan Trout, Associate Writer
North Greenville University started off the new year by honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18. This year is the first that the University has given students the day off to reflect on its meaning.
The decision was made by members of staff and faculty and Interim President, Randall Pannell. The executive council unanimously approved of the decision to honor the holiday.
“It is a significant part of our culture and the ongoing issues related to the work and ministry of Martin Luther King,” said Pannell.
King was a nonviolent activist for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is federal holiday held on King’s birthday in observation of King and his work.
Pannell said the reason for the newly recognized holiday at North Greenville University was to hold in high respect what King worked to accomplish while here on Earth.
“It is a way of trying to honor what he (King) stood for and what he was trying to accomplish, but also to make sure we stand with those who are constantly trying to improve racial discussions,” said Pannell.
The campaign to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day came soon after his assassination in 1968. It was not until 1983 that former president Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law and it was celebrated three years later.
Pannell stated that he felt that many of the things that King stood for are embodied by North Greenville's principles and, therefore, the University had no reason not to be a part of honoring the holiday.
“The principles of racial reconciliation, servant-hood and nonviolence that Martin Luther King stood for are values that we (NGU) hold in common and we wanted to be a part of that,” said Pannell.
Within the upcoming years, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there will be activities that students can volunteer for in an effort to give back to the community and display King’s principles and ideologies.