14:12 PM

Interim President's Message: Observing MLK Day on Jan. 18

Dear UHD Community,

Before we begin the spring semester, the University will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. As a reminder, UHD will be closed on this date, and I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the memory and messages of Dr. King.

The late Civil Rights icon was renowned for advocating peace and unconditional love in a world fraught with violence and prejudice. Fast forward more than five decades following Dr. King's death, and his messages find even more profound meaning in our society, particularly following the recent violence at our nation's Capitol.

Two days after MLK Day, our nation welcomes a new President on Jan. 20. Regardless of who you voted for, let's remain civil among peers with differing beliefs and opinions. Universities such as ours are excellent venues for debate and discussion. Let's apply our energies and expertise to supporting productive dialogues and promoting healing within our community.

As Gators, we can set examples for others in our city and throughout the nation. We're already doing so on several fronts. This weekend, I know that many of you are volunteering in the community to honor Dr. King's memory as part of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning's GatorServe initiative. And I am happy to learn that one of our esteemed scholars, Dr. Jonathan Chism, is sharing his insights on Dr. King's legacy with local media. These are only two examples of Gators contributing to constructive conversations and serving others, and I could not be more proud.

Such activities also are reflective of UHD's role in our city ... and help our University live up to the standards set by Dr. King himself. I believe his quote below sums it up:

"Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service ... You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love."

Your service to others ... and to each other ... during very turbulent times continues to make you great ... and I am grateful to work alongside you.




Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
Interim President
University of Houston-Downtown