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

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.

Building CommUNITY Through Service

An Evening with Senator Brian Williams

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2024
  • Show Me Center
  • Doors open at 5 p.m.
  • Program begins at 6 p.m.

 About Brian Williams

professional headshot of Brian Williams smiling at the cameraSenator Brian Williams has proudly represented the 14th Senatorial District in St. Louis County since 2018. He served as the assistant minority floor leader from 2020-2022. Senator Williams is the first Black male to serve in the Missouri Senate in two decades. He was drawn to public service after studying government and public health policy, a passion that eventually led him to the U.S. Congress. He worked as a congressional staffer for several years. During this time, he oversaw Missouri’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace under President Obama’s administration and helped land the $1.75 billion new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in North St. Louis City.

While his list of legislative accomplishments is vast, Sen. Williams’ work in Jefferson City truly reflects the best interests of his underserved community. Thanks to his diplomacy and advocacy, sickle cell patients may access their needed medications, students will learn about the atrocity of the holocaust with his designation of Holocaust Education Week and disabled individuals who have ABLE savings accounts will be protected from losing federal benefits. To address racial profiling and police misconduct, Sen. Williams passed legislation to ban the use of respiratory chokeholds, establish the nation’s strongest use-of-force database and permit prosecutors to file a motion to vacate convictions in light of new evidence that proves the person’s innocence.

During the 2022 legislative session, Sen. Williams proudly secured $98 million for North St. Louis County projects, including $40 million for the University of Missouri-St. Louis to construct the “Campus of the Future;” $15 million to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients; $23 million to build a public safety training facility; $7 million for public transit assistance; $6 million to abate, demolish, and repurpose the Jamestown Mall; $4 million to renovate the St. Louis Metro Employment and Training Center in Wellston; and $400,000 for Youth Build Works.

In addition to legislative duties, Sen. Williams hosts the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the State Capitol, which convenes advocates, stakeholders, and legislators to address this menacing issue. He serves as a board director for People’s Health Center, where he helped develop a behavioral health care center for underserved children. He is also a member of the advisory boards for the Alzheimer’s Association, Refuge and Restoration, St. Louis Crisis Nursery, Simmons Bank, iHeart Media, Nurses for Newborns, and the University City Children’s Center. Senator Williams currently resides in University City and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.


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 MEMBERS Title
Nora Bouzihay
Assistant to the President for Equity Initiatives & Title IX Coordinator
Tonya Wells Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Dana Saverino
Director of Creative Marketing Strategy
Tammy Underwood  Executive Assistant, Office of Equity Initiatives & Dean of Students


Special Projects Title
Ms. Taylor Johnson  Events Supervisor, Show Me Center 
Ms. Chistie McIntosh  Catering Director, Chartwells  
Ms. Amy Clippard Campus Sous Chef, Chartwells
MLK Events
Contact Us
Academic Hall 010 - 011
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 3375
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701