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Santa Monica College President to Give MLK Day Keynote Address


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By Lookout Staff

January 3, 2017
-- Santa Monica College (SMC) President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery will be the keynote speaker at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Santa Monica, organizers have announced.

The event commemorating the civil rights leader on Monday, January 16 at 9 a.m. at the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Auditorium downtown, is "one of the largest and most diverse celebrations of its kind in Southern California," organizers said.

Jeffery, who was hired as SMC's superintendent and president in November 2015, joins a long list of labor leaders, media figures, academicians and politicians who have given the keynote address at the event.

The former president of Sacramento City College, Dr. Jeffery is "a passionate advocate for higher education with a focus on a student-centered approach to leadership and decision-making," organizers said.

The multi-ethnic, interfaith program will feature "inspirational readings, speakers, music -- including a performance by the SMC Emeritus Gospel Choir—and the Education Awards."

Immediately following the program, a number of community organizations will participate in a Community Involvement Fair at the Grand Pavilion of St. Monica’s Church that will include refreshments and informational displays.

A music education major who trained in classical piano and voice, Jeffery has more than 30 years experience as a professor, counselor and administrator.

She has served as president of Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, head administrator at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas and dean for student services at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, among other posts.

First observed in 1986, Martin Luther King Day takes place each year on the third Monday of January to commemorate King's birthday on January 15.

Rev. King is only one of three individuals honored with national holidays. The others are George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

The event is presented by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, a nonprofit coalition "whose mission is consistent with King's legacy," organizers said.

Event co-sponsors are the City of Santa Monica, SGI-USA, Santa Monica College, the SMC Associates (, the RAND Corporation, CityTV-Santa Monica and a variety of other organizations, individuals, and corporate contributors.

For more information about the event, call (310) 941-9172 or (310) 434-4003.

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