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News Release

Dec. 6, 2023

Northwest to honor legacy of MLK with Celebration Week activities Jan. 15-20

By Georgia McGonigle, communication assistant

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(Updated: Jan. 10, 2024)

Northwest Missouri State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will commemorate the work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with its annual Celebration Week, beginning Monday, Jan. 15.

The week’s activities are free and open to the public Jan. 15-20, including a Peace Brunch and social justice teach-ins.

“For me, it’s not just about attending events during MLK week,” Dr. Shay Malone, assistant vice president of diversity and inclusion, said. “It is about celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, but also making sure that people understand that the struggle continues, and while a lot of the things he did – the things he fought for – have happened, we are still fighting.”

The Kansas City Boys and Girls Choir performed during last year's Peace Brunch. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Kansas City Boys and Girls Choir performed during last year's Peace Brunch. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dr. Leslie Doyle

Dr. Leslie Doyle

The Northwest community is invited to attend the annual MLK Peace Brunch at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 19, in the J.W. Jones Student Union. The event will feature a menu of soul food, including fried chicken and collard greens, with a keynote address by Northwest alumna Dr. Leslie Doyle.

Doyle is the founder of Doyle Legacy Consulting and specializes in diversity strategy management, team and individual leadership development, and belonging and engagement. She works with organizations, teams and individuals on inclusive leadership practices and long-range access, belonging, diversity, equity and inclusion strategy planning.

With more than 20 years of leadership experience in diversity and inclusion efforts, Doyle previously served as the interim director of student diversity and social justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; as the inaugural chief inclusion officer at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri; as director of service, diversity and social justice at Fontbonne University in St. Louis; and multicultural student coordinator at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She began her career in 1997 at the University of Kansas, where she was a hall director and program coordinator, and has received multiple programming awards from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Outside of her work in higher education, Doyle has served as a consultant and presenter to various organizations with a focus on equity, including healthcare providers, not-for-profits and religious institutions. Among her community service roles, she served with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis for 13 years and was a member of the KC Scholars’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Doyle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication and media studies at Northwest in 1997. She also has a Master of Science degree in higher education from the University of Kansas, a Master of Management degree in business and leadership from Fontbonne University and an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis.


Northwest faculty, staff and students also will host teach-in events throughout the week to educate members of the community about civil rights history, activism and social justice issues.

The teach-ins will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 16-19 in Meeting Room A of the Student Union. The sessions will include interactive discussions, movie screenings and informational sessions about historical figures of the Civil Rights Movement.

The concept of teach-ins originated during the 1960s when faculty at colleges and universities organized sessions to speak about historical, political or social justice issues. Since then, teach-ins have been used to connect social justice issues with academics.

Black Wall Street

A Black Wall Street event featuring local minority businesses will open at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Meeting Room A of the Student Union.

The event is sponsored by the Black Student Union, a campus organization that works to enhance cultural and political awareness by hosting social events and providing support Black students attending Northwest.

School supply collection

Throughout the week, the Northwest community is invited to donate school supplies by placing items in boxes located in the Office of Student Involvement and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Student Union, B.D. Owens Library and the Student Recreation Center. The collection is sponsored by Northwest’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., which will provide the donated items to East High School in Kansas City, Missouri.

About Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Although Martin Luther King Jr. was born Jan. 15, 1929, his birthday has been observed as a national holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on the third Monday of each January since 1986.

In observance of the holiday, Northwest will not have classes Jan. 15, and all University offices are closed.

King’s effort to lead the American Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and ’60s included the 1963 March on Washington. There, he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, which dramatically raised public consciousness about civil rights and established King as a world figure. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis Tennessee.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week activities at Northwest are sponsored by the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. For more information, contact Malone at


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215