Spirituals and Salutes Mark First Official SMU Black History Month Celebration
Samuel Merritt University (SMU) celebrated Black History Month on February 26 with an event suffused with spiritual music by the Allen Temple Baptist Church Men’s Chorus and tributes to four members of the Board of Regents.
The program opened with 33 members of the Men’s Chorus, dressed in black suits and scarlet red ties, singing “The Negro National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing” as they streamed down the aisles of the Fontaine Auditorium. The music was accompanied by a photographic slideshow featuring historic moments and figures in U.S. black history including Martin Luther King Jr., author Alice Walker, and Colin Powell, the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State.
SMU President Sharon Diaz reminded the audience that creating a more equitable world for our children requires us to honor those who have come before.
“We are here today to celebrate how far we’ve come and yet we acknowledge that we have a long way to go,” said President Diaz.
President Diaz introduced the new Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award, saying it is designed “to inspire people in our community to engage in activities that will make Samuel Merritt University a place where people of all colors will come and learn.”
top left - Dr. Owen Garrick, Dr. Cornelius Hopper, President Sharon Diaz, Dr. Alvin McLean, Mr. Gary Morrison
top right - Allen Temple's Male Chorus