MLK Center celebrates five years

By Heather Urquides
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 2, 1996

Katherine K. Gardiner
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Jesse Hargrove, assistant dean and director for African American Student Affairs, names UA Football Head Coach Dick Tomey the 1996 Honorary Sounder at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center's fifth anniversary celebration yesterday. Other members of the UA and Tucson communities were awarded the 1996 Distinguished Leadership Award at the celebration.


University of Arizona and Tucson community members were honored yesterday during the fifth anniversary celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.

At the celebration, 99 people from UA faculty, employees and students and the Tucson community were each given the 1996 Distinguished Leadership Award. The award recognized them for their part "in keeping the dream alive" and promoting diversity.

The ceremony followed a traditional African American format which promotes talking and interacting. UA Football Coach Dick Tomey was the 1996 Honorary Sounder for the event.

Tomey told about 175 people, which included the audience and other honorees, that he felt privileged to be the honorary sounder and believed very strongly in the need for diversity on campus.

"I just believe so much in the fact that this center is something that helps promote diversity on campus," he said. "This center, as well as the other centers on campus, is a symbol of that diversity."

In his comment at the beginning of the ceremony, Tomey said he feels students need to participate in the process of promoting diversity.

Tomey cited his football team as an example of how students aren't participating. He said they became infuriated when Arizona first voted against creating a Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in 1990, but when he asked how many had voted, only two respond ed.

To increase their involvement, Tomey said he had people come and speak to his team this year about the importance of voting. He also helped them get registered to vote.

Many of them think because they are away from home at college they can't take part in the process - they're wrong, he said.

Following Tomey's speech, the recipients were invited to share a "quotation for justice."

Jesse Hargrove, assistant dean and director for African American Student Affairs, said the meaning of "quotations for justice" is to leave an impression on the minds of listeners "in the hopes that something will be said which will make a difference in so meone's life for a more just society."

Hargrove began the quotations with "I think we can all keep the dream alive by the way we live our lives."

Yolanda McMillian was one of the 35 UA student recipients of the award. Her quotation for justice was "I used to want the word she tried on my tombstone, now I want the words she did it."

An honoree from the community, Manny Bracamonte, quoted from his father, "I may come from limited means, but by God, not with limited abilities."

Shereka Jackson, MIS junior and vice president of the African American Student Alliance, said the event was very important in the process of recognizing diversity and celebrating the fifth anniversary of the center.

She said the main focus of the event was "to recognize the leaders on campus and in the community - the people that are trying to work for the benefit of others."

For more information about the day's event, Richard Watson, from diverse data, will be setting up a Web page with pictures and the names of the honorees at