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MLK Celebration

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

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.


2022 Theme - Living the Dream: Live and in Color


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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 or organization 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 January 12 at the Chamber's Community Service Awards Luncheon; see below for information.

MLK Community Service Award nomination

MLK High School Community Service Award nomination

Nominations are due Dec. 10. More information on the nomination forms.

Past MLK Community Service Award Recipients

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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."

Contributions are needed now more than ever to keep the MLK Freedom Scholarships going! Donate at

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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.


2022 Calendar of Events


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


January 12
Chamber Community Service Awards Luncheon

11:45 AM - 1:00 PM
American Legion Post 131, 733 E. Young Ave., Warrensburg

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

Speaker: Willie Arthur Taylor

photo of Willie Taylor

Willie Arthur Taylor is the owner of All-Starz Barbershop LLC in Warrensburg and Knob Noster, Missouri.  After high school Willie enlisted into the United States Air Force and worked as a Security Forces Officer for 4 years at Whiteman AFB and in England at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath. He has been a barber for over 21 years, and an entrepreneur in the barbering industry for 15 years. During Willie’s time honing his entrepreneurship skills, he decided to go back to college and pursue a degree in Business. Willie attended State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri where he obtained his Associate of Arts degree in 2015, and in 2019 earned his general studies Bachelor's degree with a minor in business administration from the University of Central Missouri. Willie’s passion is community. He has organized and held an annual “Father Daughter Dance,”  the “Fresh4Success” back to school event, “Operation Feed the Troops” during Thanksgiving for local military members and college students, and an annual Christmas toy drive. Lastly, Willie has been diligently working to build a non-profit organization titled All-Starz of Tomorrow which will focus on building and developing an entrepreneurial mindset for the youth within the local and surrounding communities.

Tickets are $14 for Chamber members and guests, $20 for non-members. 

Contact the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce at or 660-747-3168 for tickets and more information. RSVPs due to the Chamber by January 7.


January 17
Community Praise and Worship Service

6:30 PM
UCM Alumni Memorial Chapel

photo of the ABC Gospel Choir


January 18
Let's Talk (virtual)

12:30-1:30 PM (link will be available closer to the date)
Topic: "Dear White People: How to Be a Better Ally"

photo of three female studetns in the library book stacks

Organized by the Office of Student Activities; contact Esther Ehino Akheituame, Graduate Assistant for Social Justice, at


January 18
Freedom Scholarship Fundraiser
"Living the Dream: Live and In Color"

5:30 VIP Sponsor Reception
Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity

6:00 Doors; 6:30 Event begins
Elliott Student Union ballrooms

Image of 2022 MLK postcard

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, view works of art by local students inspired by Dr. King’s message, and support future scholarships for deserving UCM undergraduate students. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served with hightop tables, VIP seating for sponsors, and limited unreserved table seating.

  • Gold Level Sponsor $800: Six VIP tickets to the Sponsor Reception, six event tickets with VIP Gold table seating for event performances, name announced during the event and on Sponsor board.
  • Silver Level Sponsor $600: Four VIP tickets to the Sponsor Reception, four event tickets with VIP Silver row seating for event performances, name announced during the event and on Sponsor board.
  • Bronze Level Sponsor $400: Two VIP tickets to the Sponsor Reception, two event tickets, VIP Bronze row seating for event performances.
  • Individuals $100
  • Students/Retirees $50

Tickets are available Online through the UCM Foundation.

All funds raised at this event go directly to deserving UCM undergraduate students through the Freedom Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity!


January 19
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.


January 20
Day of Service - Warrensburg Campus

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

Image of 2022 MLK Service Day poster

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

Click here to sign up.  Register by December 10!

Contact Kristie Brinkley at with questions.


January 21
Day of Service - Lee's Summit Campus

1:00-5:00 PM
Missouri Innovation Campus

arms holding up the letters for the word volunteer

Help make dog toys for the four-legged residents of local animal shelters!

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


January 21
MLK Celebration - Lee's Summit campus

6:00 PM
Missouri Innovation Campus
Keynote Speaker: UCM alumnus Manny Abarca

Join others in the Lee's Summit community for a celebration that will include the "Living the Dream: Live and in Color Faculty Award," the "Living the Dream: Live and in Color Student Award," and the presentation of the MLK Art Contest award to a Lee's Summit R-VII student.


January 25 & 26
Community Service Blood Drive

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM both days, Elliott Student Union ballrooms

Choose one of these two days to give the gift of life! Appointments preferred; walk-ins accepted as time and available staff allow. Register at

Contact Kristie Brinkley at with questions.


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


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