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University honors Martin Luther King Jr with panel discussion

Lamar University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion will commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an event titled “Unity and Peace Panel Discussion: Is the Dream Still Alive?” Thursday, January 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Landes Auditorium, Galloway Business Building.

Panelists will discuss King’s life and service to society. Members representing the past, present, and future will reflect on the influence of his fight for justice throughout history and for years to come.

Gwinyai Muzorewa, the panel moderator, is an assistant professor of history that specializes in the study of African and African-American history. His current projects include “The Contributions of Religious Thought to the Formation of African Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Nation Building” and “African Nationalism in the 21st Century: From Liberation to Governance in Southern Africa.”

Muzorewa holds a Ph.D. in history from Morgan State University, a M.A. in African American studies from Temple University and a B.S. in black studies from Lincoln University.

Panelist Natalie Tindal, chair of the Department of Communication, will represent the past. She specializes in diversity, identity and power in the public relations function; identity and health messages; fundraising and philanthropy; organizational culture and stereotypes within historically black fraternities and sororities; and the intersection of public relations and marketing to minority health.

Tindall received an M.A. in mass communication at the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Maryland. She is the author of many chapters, online publications and articles in peer-reviewed journals such as “Journal of Public Relations Research,” “Public Relations Review” and “Public Relations Journal.”

Panelist Terry Mena, associate vice president for the Office of Student Engagement and Dean of Students, will represent the present. He holds the roles of co-chair for the Latino Knowledge Committee in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Native American Chair for the American College Personnel Association. He has presented nationally on areas including Latino community concerns, Native American historical and cultural connections and community building.

Mena earned a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in higher education leadership from Florida Atlantic University, an M.A. in student personnel administration from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University and a B.S. in criminal justice from Northeastern University.

Aaron Lavergne, president of the Student Government Association, will represent the future. He is a senior mechanical engineering major and a Mirabeau scholar. He coaches little league baseball and has been involved with organizations such as Greek Council, LU’s branch of the National Society of Black Engineers, Lamar Ambassadors, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, LU baseball, and the Reaud Honors College.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion works with students of all backgrounds to provide meaningful cross-cultural interaction, promote cultural awareness and develop students as active, productive and collaborative members of the community.