Florida Tech Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. at Community Event Thursday, Jan. 15

Bridge Builder, Pioneer Award Winners Announced

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology will celebrate the life and achievements of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in the Hartley Room of the Denius Student Center on the university’s Melbourne campus.

Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese and Executive Vice President and COO T. Dwayne McCay are scheduled to join other university and community leaders in the free public event, which also features a presentation of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by orator Leonard Ross.

After a welcome by Catanese, humanities professor and university historian Gordon Patterson will provide remarks before Ross’ reading of King’s famous speech. That will be followed by a keynote address form Bishop Jacquelyn “Jackie” Gordon of New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne.

Gordon founded her center in 1997 on the site of an abandoned night club. Membership was four adults and seven children in those early days. It has now grown to more than 1,500 people. She was appointed in 2009 as the first female bishop to serve on the General Board of the United Covenant Churches of Christ under the leadership of Bishop Eric D. Garnes. She also served as the district overseer of Florida in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship under the administration of Bishop Paul S. Morton in 2009. Gordon was also the first female associate pastor of Greater Faith Temple Church of God In Christ under the leadership of Bishop Leonard T. Weaver, Sr.

McCay will present the Rev. Harvey L. Riley Bridge Builder Award for community activism and improvement to Lynn Brockwell-Carey. She is executive director of Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition, the faith-based nonprofit that runs the Dorcas Outreach Center for Kids.

And Catanese will present Joe Lee Smith the Julius Montgomery Pioneer Award, named for Florida Tech’s first African-American student. A native of Cocoa, Smith has had a distinguished career as an educator in Brevard, Broward and Dade counties. He served as a classroom teacher; coach; director of athletics; high school assistant principal; research assistant at the University of Florida; coordinator, director, dean and provost of Eastern Florida State College’s Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay and Melbourne campuses, and as executive director of the Moore Multicultural Center. In 2000 he retired as Campus President Emeritus.

Smith has also served for more than three decades on the Rockledge City Council.

After the awards, Gordon Patterson will offer the evening’s conclusion, followed by the performance of two songs by the Florida Tech Concert Choir, “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

For more information, contact Stevie Pursell at spursell@fit.edu or (321) 674-6826.


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