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Metcalfes receive Award of Excellence at MLK breakfast

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University education professors were honored for their stance against injustice during Monday’s 16th Annual Knox County Dr. King Celebration Breakfast.

Drs. Sharon and Steve Metcalfe were the first couple presented the Beulah Apostolic Award of Excellence for their personal and professional response to the concerns and challenges of racism.

“After conducting a year-long theme on racism at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, the Equity Planning Commission was established,” said Joyce Hogan, member of the Dr. King Legacy Committee. “The commission includes Mount Vernon Nazarene University faculty and the students-of-color panel. Using outside resources, speakers, workshops, a campus book study on racism, along with discussions and dialogue, many positive results were initiated.”

“This is a huge honor,” said Sharon Metcalfe. “One that I don’t feel we deserve because we work alongside so many wonderful, wonderful people.”

“Our work at Mount Vernon Nazarene University is founded on three ideas — compassion, commitment and competence. We’ve seen that through the stay here and that’s kind of the rock around which we try to effect social change and equity,” said Steve Metcalfe.

According to Keynote Speaker Dr. Leslie Harris, professor of history at Northwestern University, while men such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and E.D. Nixon were leading the way to break the chains of segregation, women were also taking a stand — and some a seat — to advance the movement.

“It probably shouldn’t surprise us that many more women than Rosa Parks did a sit in for their rights to ride on buses,” said Harris. “After all, at a time when families only had one car, and when women were using these buses to get to work, get kids to school and to do all sorts of things, it is not surprising that women were on the front line to desegregate public transportation.”

Henry W. Spaulding II, Ph. D., president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, reflected on King’s life and how his belief in God was deeply intertwined in his belief in racial equality.

“On this day, we slow our pace a little bit, to celebrate the fact that Martin Luther King Jr. was first and last a Christian preacher and social activist,” said Spaulding. “He never stopped believing in the power of God to redeem people. He never stopped believing that his message of nonviolence can out narrate the evil and sin that surround him.”

MVNU student Derrick Dzormeku performed musical selections including “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The Knox County Dr. King Celebration Breakfast is sponsored by MVNU and Kenyon College and organized by the Dr. King Legacy Committee.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.