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College’s inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. awards will recognize Thiel community members


College’s inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. awards will recognize Thiel community members

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College announces that as part of the celebration and recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., it will host the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner that will honor members of the Thiel College community who embody the ideals of the civil rights leader. The event begins at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 in the Lutheran Heritage Room of the Howard Miller Student Center.

The event’s theme is “The Celebration of Mindfulness, Love and Kindness.” Students, faculty and staff members, alumni and community members were eligible for the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Thiel College Community Service Awards. In addition to honoring members of the Thiel College community, author, ordained minister, educator and motivational speaker Dr. T. Leon Williams will be the keynote presenter. Williams wrote the books “The First-Year College Experience Handbook Strategies for Academic Success and Character Developments,” “Mentoring College Men to Lead the Next Generation of Young Scholars: The Blueprint for Developing Men of Character,” and “The View from the Mountaintop.”

The event is free and open to all, but attendees must RSVP to insure seating and dinner is available.

Thiel student community service award winner is Brianna Gibbs ’19. The Faculty/Staff award will go to Pastor Jayne Thompson; and the Alumni/Community award will be given to Ronnell Hunt ’15.

  • Gibbs, of Farrell, Pa., is a 2015 graduate of Kennedy Catholic High School. She is a finance major. She is active in the Organization of Black Collegians and works in the Office of Admission as an ambassador to current and prospective students, parents, staff, alumni, and friends. She is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
  • Thompson has been the campus pastor since 2013. In January 2014, she inaugurated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interfaith worship service. Each year, students from all faith backgrounds lead the readings and prayers as well as offer musical and liturgical dance performances. Hunt was the speaker twice. In 2017 and 2018, performance poet, LGBTQ activist, film producer, and founder of the “Artists Inn Detroit” Natasha T. Miller performed and read poetry at Thiel. During Thompson’s tenure, she has led the College’s interfaith series that brought Muslim, Christian and Buddhist leaders to campus to discuss religious understanding and tolerance.
  • Hunt graduated from Thiel in 2015. He is a New Castle native and graduated from Union High School in 2011. He has been an active supporter of the College and is studying for a Master’s in Divinity. He spoke at last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. events on campus and is a television reporter for WBOY in Clarksburg, W.Va.

“These awards honor positive role models in our Thiel community but also in the greater community that extends far off campus,” Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Anthony E. Jones said. “Whether it’s as a student championing diversity on campus, or as a staff member that has brought multifaceted viewpoints to campus to speak to our community or as alumnus who spreads the message of the open and inclusive community they found in their time at Thiel, each of these winners represents an important piece of Dr. King’s philosophy. We are proud of these winners and congratulate each of them for their past accomplishments and look forward with great optimism to the ways they will continue to spread the message of mindfulness, kindness and love.”

Thompson has also invited Williams to be the guest preacher for the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. interfaith service at 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22 in the David Johnson Memorial Chapel. The Thiel Choir will perform at the event, too.

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About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and graduate programs in, Business Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Communication and Leadership, Physician Assistant and Speech-Language Pathology. All of Thiel College’s master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce outstanding graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to diversity and inclusion. The College combines tradition with innovation as it honors its past and celebrates its future.

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