Winter to keynote MLK Jr. Unity Breakfast Monday

The Mississippi governor considered to be among the most progressive state leaders of the 20th century is the keynote speaker Monday, Jan. 16 for Mississippi State's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast.

The 7-9 a.m. public event with William F. Winter takes place in the Bill Foster Ballroom of the university's Colvard Student Union.

A Grenada native who held the state's highest office 1980-84, Winter gained national recognition for leading efforts that resulted in groundbreaking passage of education reform legislation.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum will give the program's welcome and Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman will make special presentations.

The student Black Voices gospel choir also will perform.

Additionally, winners of a local high school writing competition will be recognized. Students were invited to compose essays focusing on the best ideals of social justice espoused by the martyred civil rights leader whose birthday is celebrated on the third Monday of each January as a national holiday.

The free campus breakfast program and its activities are sponsored and organized by MSU's offices of the President and Diversity and Equity Programs, along with the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities.

Prior to holding the state's highest elective office, Winter served as a member of the Mississippi Legislature, state tax collector, state treasurer, and lieutenant governor. Over a long public service career, he also has chaired the Southern Regional Education Board, Appalachian Regional Commission, Southern Growth Policies Board, and Commission on the Future of the South, among others.

After leaving office, he was instrumental in founding the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, from which he holds undergraduate and law degrees. The Profile in Courage Award of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is among many lifetime honors and recognitions he has received.

Winter continues a long legal career as an attorney with the Jackson firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre.

Also on the breakfast program will be Michael V. Williams, assistant professor of history and African American studies; Seth Oppenheimer, professor of mathematics and statistics; Adrienne Morris, chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities; Donald M. Shaffer Jr., assistant professor of English and African American Studies; the Rev. Jerome Wilson of the Rock Hill United Methodist Church; and the campus Army ROTC Color Guard.

For additional information about the Unity Breakfast, please contact Latoya Bishop in MSU's Office of Diversity and Equity Programs at or 662-325-2493.

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

PHOTO: Jones Walker

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