Lessons From The Mountaintop: MNU Celebrates MLK’s Legacy

Jan. 22, 2013

MNU welcomed the community of Olathe, its leaders and other dignitaries for the 7th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration today during the university’s community Chapel.

Rev. Charles Tillman, black ministries director for the Church of the Nazarene brought greetings and inspiration as he reflected on changes in racial harmony during his lifetime. Commenting on the diversity represented by the MNU student body and Olathe community in attendance Tillman said, “Our country has gone through a marvelous transformation.”

Olathe Mayor Pro Tem Jim Randall brought greetings from the city stating that Olathe is a place where every person has a place to dream to grow and to achieve his highest potential.

“It is this spirit of unity we celebrate this morning,” he said. “Thank you for fostering that spirit.”

MNU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Leaders were honored during the program. These students of diverse ethnicity receive a Scholar Leader scholarship in honor of their academic excellence, participation in community service and campus leadership.

MLK2013ScholarsThe 2013 Scholar Leaders are: Karla Davis, John-Paul Gilett, Estela Gingerich, Andrea Holt, Lantino Luna, Michael Teen and Ryan Tink.

Chris Powers, coordinator for diversity and cultural competency at MNU brought a rousing speech inspired by Dr. King’s famous Lessons from the Mountaintop address delivered the night before King’s assassination. Powers lamented the King’s loss when “the soul of the cause drifted away.”

“I’ve struggled with why the [civil rights] leader was taken in the midst of the battle,” Powers said. “Moses didn’t enter the promised land…neither did King.”

Powers proposed that as others carry on the cause the promise will be in all of us, not just in one leader. Powers said King’s quote, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing,” can lead us today.

“Let’s be the change,” Powers said. “Let’s pioneer, by fulfilling God’s purpose.”

Reverend Alice Piggee-Wallack, founder of True Light Ministries and Emancipation Station Day Center in Kansas City, Mo., was honored by MNU with the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Living Legacy Award. Piggee-Wallack runs a shelter and a transitional home for women seeking a better life for themselves and their children. In ministry for 25 years, the social worker turned ordained minister has helped hundreds of homeless, mentally ill and substance abuse sufferers in Kansas City’s urban core.

MLK2013Dignitaries

“I don’t do this for recognition,” Piggee-Wallack said. “I do it because I’m called, because I’m passionate, because I love it.”

Photo caption: Community leaders joined MNU in congratulating the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Living Legacy Award winner, Rev. Alice Piggee-Wallack. Left to right: Jim Randall, Olathe Mayor Pro-tem; Rev. Charles Tillman, Black Ministries Director for Church of the Nazarene; Rev. Alice Piggee-Wallack; Dr. David Spittal, MNU President; Chris Powers, MNU Coordinator for Diversity and Cultural Competency.

Sponsors make the annual event possible. Proceeds from the event fund the Scholar Leader scholarship and diversity initiatives at MNU. This year’s sponsors include:

Unity Commitment and Presenting Sponsor

Sprint Foundation

Faith Commitment

City of Olathe 

Enterprise Bank & Trust

Multicultural Ministries, Church of the Nazarene

Olathe Medical Center

Olathe Walmart Supercenter

Precision Printing

Hope Commitment

Kansas City District Church of the Nazarene

Olathe Chamber of Commerce

David and Donna Spittal

Freedom Commitment

Johnson County NAACP

Schurle Signs, Inc.