Coker Athletics to Take Part in Special MLK Day Programming

HARTSVILLE, S.C. –  Coker College’s Center for Engaged Learning, working with Coker athletics, the Office of Campus Life and others across campus and in the community has organized a series of activities, Jan. 12-16, that will culminate in a community-wide day of service on Monday to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
Coker’s official programming will begin with a public ceremony at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday in the Davidson Hall Courtyard.  As part of the service, which is sponsored by Campus Life, the Center for Engaged Learning and the Department of Dance, Music and Theater, students will read portions of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Coker alumna Amesha Johnson will sing Patty Griffin’s tribute, “Up to the Mountain.”
On Friday, a group of students, accompanied by Assistant Dean and Center for Engaged Learning Director Darlene Small, Dean of Students Jason Umfress, and Associate Professor of Theater and Chair of Dance Music and Theater Phyllis Fields will travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the new Martin Luther King Memorial, which was dedicated last August, and other memorials and sites important in the history of the civil rights movement.  The trip to the capital is sponsored by Coker’s African American Studies Specialization, the Center for Engaged Learning, Campus Life and the Dean’s Office.
“It’s one thing for us to watch or hear Dr. King give the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, but it’s a totally different experience to stand at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and visualize what it must have felt like to have been there,” said Umfress.  “This trip will give our students an opportunity to examine the impact Dr. King’s leadership had on our country, compare and contrast our country then and now, and have important conversations about how they might continue Dr. King’s legacy in our Coker community.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Coker College offices will be open, but classes in Hartsville and on the satellite campuses in Marion and Lake City will be suspended so that students and faculty can participate, not only in activities in Hartsville but in their own communities’ programs as well.
“While each of Coker’s 254 student-athletes have already committed to participating in this year’s activities, we are encouraging all students to complete at least two hours of community service in recognition of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a patriot who did much to alleviate poverty and injustice,” said Small.
Among more than a dozen traditional service projects that are being planned to support worthy organizations, including the Hartsville and Timmonsville Boys and Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, the Darlington County Humane Society and area nursing homes, some first-time projects will take place on Coker’s main campus on Monday as well.
For example, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Coker College baseball field, Coker College baseball staff will conduct “Baseball Skills & Drills,” a free baseball clinic for school children in the area. For information about the clinic, please call Coach Ray Marerro at 843-383-8189.
In addition, Assistant Professor of Library Science Megan A. Johnson and her students will host a story and activity time for children ages 5 to 7 at 2 p.m. in the second-floor atrium of the Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library Information-Technology Center.
For a list of Coker’s service projects or to volunteer to help, please contact the Center for Engaged Learning at 843-383-8039.  
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.