President’s Posts

Michael Rao, Ph.D.

When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous and moving “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington in 1963, he spoke of the fierce urgency of now.

“We have … come to this hallowed spot,” he said, “to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.” He spoke of making real “the promises of democracy” and a clearer path to social justice for all people.

Those words were poignant in 1963 and still resonate today. We still have so much work to do, and the urgency remains.

Established in 2014, VCU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week honors and raises awareness of the life, legacy and leadership of the American hero and civil rights activist. And, 2020’s theme “Reflections on the Fierce Urgency of Now” serves an excellent opportunity to learn more about our community and those who comprise it, and to become even more engaged in the life of your university.

The week kicks off at 2 p.m. on Jan. 19 with the screening of Woke Vote. Afterward, a dialogue between attendees will be facilitated by Jamelle Smith Wilson, Ed.D., who is a VCU alumna and the first African American to serve as superintendent for Hanover County Public Schools. Dr. Smith Wilson is now dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Richmond.

VCU will not hold classes on Jan. 20 to advance the day of service in Dr. King’s honor. A series of other events are planned throughout the week, and a full schedule can be found on the MLK Celebration 2020 site at

Thank you for joining us in honoring Dr. King and for continuing to advance his great work that is his legacy.



Michael Rao, Ph.D.


VCU and VCU Health System




Categories 21st-Century University, Community, Diversity, News, To VCU
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