Since 1986, America has celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through observances that teach, excite, and inspire the next generation of leaders.

From 1999-2005, Southeast Missouri State University held a memorial breakfast to honor Dr. King. In 2006, King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, was invited to be the keynote speaker for the first campus celebration dinner. The 2006 dinner initiated a new tradition that continues to garner growing involvement by students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and community members from the southeast Missouri region and beyond. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Each year, Southeast honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a celebratory dinner featuring a guest speaker to share their story and diversity and acceptance.

2024 Infomation Coming Soon!


MLK Celebration Past Speakers

Since 2006, celebrated guest speakers have come to Southeast Missouri State University to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the first being King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III. Check out some of our other previous speakers.

Each year, the Martin Luther King, Jr (MLK) Celebration Planning Committee plans, organizes, and executes the annual dinner as well as other campus and community-wide activities on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   

MLK Planning Committee members include faculty and staff from various colleges and departments across campus. The committee also includes Graduate Assistants from the Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, students involved in the TRIO/Student Support Services Program, the MLK Scholars, and a representative from the Student Government Association (SGA).   

The MLK Co-Chairs are appointed by the Provost and serve two years appointments.  

MLK Planning Committee Members Title
Dr. Melissa Odegard, co-chair
Chair, Psychology & Counseling
Dr. Shonta Smith, co-chair Chair/Associate Professor Elementary, Early & Special Education 
Michelle Irby  Director, Campus Life & Event Services 
Dana Saverino
Director of Creative Marketing Strategy
Tammy Underwood  Executive Assistant, Assistant to the President & Dean of Students
Tonya Wells  Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications 
Valdis Zalite  Director, TRIO Programs 


Special Projects Title
Ms. Taylor Johnson  Events Supervisor, Show Me Center 
Ms. Chistie McIntosh  Catering Director, Chartwells  
Mr. Kurt Walker Campus Executive Chef, Chartwells  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

Thank you for your interest in attending this celebratory dinner! If you would like to purchase a ticket, table or sponsorship, please select one of the following options.

MLK Committee
Contact Us
Academic Hall 010 - 011
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 3375
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701