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MLK Celebration

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2023 Theme: "Living the Dream and Still Marching"

The University of Central Missouri's MLK Celebration, held each year in January, is an opportunity for our community to pause and reflect on the work and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while recommitting to the goal of showing respect and dignity toward one another.

From"The March on Washington was a massive protest march that occurred in August 1963, when some 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Also known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the event aimed to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by African Americans a century after emancipation. It was also the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s now-iconic “I Have a Dream” speech."


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser

2023 MLK Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser image

The signature event of UCM's MLK Celebration, the Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser is an opportunity to celebrate Dr. King's bold action in support of justice, inclusion, and the beloved community, and to contribute to the futures of the deserving undergraduate students at UCM who receive the Freedom Scholarships each year.

All proceeds from this event go directly to UCM undergraduate students!  Become a sponsor, or purchase individual tickets through the UCM Alumni Foundation.

See more details below under Calendar of Events.



two female military members walking and smiling at each other

Community Service Awards

These awards, co-sponsored by the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, seek to honor those in our community who exemplify humanitarianism, leadership, and selfless service.

The Community Service Award is open to any individual in Johnson County, and the High School Community Service Award is open to any student enrolled in high school in Johnson County.

Awards will be presented on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at the Chamber's Community Service Awards Luncheon; see below for information.

See below for the 2023 recipients!

Past MLK Community Service Award Recipients

portion of flyer

Call for Artists

Various forms of artistic expression - spoken word, movement, visual arts, music and more - that connect to this year's theme, honoring the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, will be presented at the 2023 events.

Selected artistic contributions will be included at the Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser event on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 in Warrensburg, and the MLK Celebration event on Friday, January 20, 2023 in Lee's Summit.

students at the Center

Freedom Scholarships

Each year, the UCM Alumni Foundation awards Freedom Scholarships to high school students who are accepted to UCM and/or returning UCM students. These students are recognized at the annual MLK Freedom Scholarship event in January.  

Application deadline is midnight on February 1 of each year.

Click here  to go to the UCM Scholarship Finder page, the online one-stop portal for all UCM Alumni Foundation scholarships, and search for "Freedom Scholarship."

There is always a need for contributions to keep the MLK Freedom Scholarships going! Donate at

MLK 50 image

The MLK50 Pledge: a Call to Peace and Action

April of 2018 marked 50 years since Dr. King's assassination. Click here to take the MLK50 Pledge, and commit to 50 achievable actions that realize Dr. King's legacy of peace.


2023 Calendar of Events


All events are open to the public and most are free to attend - everyone is welcome!


Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Chamber Community Service Awards Luncheon

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM
First United Methodist Church, 141 E. Gay St., Warrensburg

Hosted by the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, this annual luncheon honors the recipients of the Community Service and High School Community Service awards.

Photo of the 2023 MLK Community Service Award winners

Sydney Burden, a Knob Noster High School student, and the Brandon and Monica Mitcheltree family, Warrensburg, were honored on Jan. 11, 2023 with Community Service Awards. Participating in the awards ceremony were, from left, Suzanne Taylor, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce executive director; Sydney Burden, High School Community Service Award recipient; Grace Mitcheltree; Leam Mitcheltree; Brandon and Monica Mitcheltree, Community Service Award recipients; Dr. Lover Chancler, director of the UCM Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity; and Suzy Latare, Chamber board chair.

Speaker: Erica Jones Collins, LCSW: lifelong Warrensburg resident, co-director of Journey Home, Chair of the Warrensburg Parks & Recreation board, member of the Johnson County CROP Walk Committee.


Thursday, January 12, 2023
Community Service Blood Drive

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Elliott Student Union ballrooms

poster for 2023 MLK blood drive

Give the gift of life! Appointments preferred; walk-ins accepted as time and available staff allow. Register at

Contact Kristie Brinkley at with questions.


Sunday, January 15, 2023
Community Praise and Worship Service

3:00-5:00 PM
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 212 N. Main St., Warrensburg, MO

photo of the ABC Gospel Choir


Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Volunteer Fair

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Elliott Student Union atrium

arms holding up the letters for the word volunteer

Visit with a wide variety of our community partners looking for YOU to help fulfill their mission!

Contact Kristie Brinkley at with questions.


Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Let's Talk
March Your Talk: What Does Inclusivity Look Like Today?

12:30-1:30 PM 
Elliott Student Union Room 229 or via Zoom

Let's Talk poster

Contact Esosa Akele at for more information.


Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser

5:30 pm Sponsor Reception
6:00 pm Doors open; 6:30 pm Event begins
Elliott Student Union ballrooms

Heavy hors d'ouevres served; business casual attire suggested

Nikkita and Kaitlyn

Join us to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of bold action in pursuit of justice, inclusion, and the beloved community. Enjoy vocal and dance performances from UCM and community members, hear from the Freedom Scholarship winners, and view works of art by local students inspired by Dr. King’s message.  All funds raised at this event go directly to deserving UCM undergraduate students through the Freedom Scholarship.  

Become a Sponsor or purchase individual tickets through the UCM Alumni Foundation.  Thank you for your generosity!


Thursday, January 19, 2023
Day of Service - Warrensburg Campus

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Elliott Student Union ballrooms

poster for MLK Day of Service

Stop by to do a variety of service projects to help our local and surrounding communities. Volunteers Make a Difference!

Register by December 9!  Sign up here.

Contact Kristie Brinkley at with questions.


Friday, January 20, 2023
Day of Service - Lee's Summit Campus

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
UCM Lee’s Summit, 1101 Innovation Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO 

poster for Lee's Summit day of service

Click here to register by Friday, January 13! For more information email


Friday, January 20, 2023
MLK Celebration - Lee's Summit campus

6:00 pm
UCM Lee’s Summit, 1101 Innovation Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO 

Join others in the Lee's Summit community for a celebration that will include faculty and student awards and the presentation of the MLK Art Contest award to a Lee's Summit R-VII student.

Contact Rick Smetana at to sign up or for more information.


For more information about UCM's MLK Celebration, please contact Dr. Lover Chancler at 660-543-8049 or


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