MSU celebrates MLK Jr.’s life, legacy with 25th Annual Unity Breakfast, Day of Service

Marcus L. Thompson (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy as a minister, humanitarian and civil rights activist during the university’s 25th Annual Unity Breakfast and Day of Service Monday [Jan. 21].

Breakfast will be served promptly at 8 a.m., followed by a 9 a.m. program at The Mill at MSU, 600 Russell St. in Starkville. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and doors open at 7:30 a.m.

Reserved tables are available through sponsorship. For details, contact Tyrel Jernigan, coordinator of diversity initiatives for MSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, at 662-325-2493 or

Marcus L. Thompson, deputy commissioner and chief administrative officer for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, is keynote speaker.

Also serving as system diversity officer, Thompson is responsible for providing leadership and consultation to develop and implement equity and diversity strategies throughout the public university system. Pastor of Mountain Ridge United Methodist Church in Brandon, he previously served as chief of staff and assistant to the State Superintendent of Education at the Mississippi Department of Education.

Thompson has served as an educator in the Jackson Public and Copiah County school districts. In addition to holding an endorsement to teach in elementary education, he is licensed to teach English, history, mathematics and Spanish. Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish and a Master of Education in elementary education from Mississippi College.

A strong proponent of community and human capital development, he is a member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

Thompson and his wife, LaToya Redd Thompson, are parents of three children—Kaelyn, Jessica and Marcus Jr.

At the conclusion of the program, MSU’s Maroon Volunteer Center will encourage participants to engage in a “Day of Service” at various sites around the local community. Volunteer opportunities are available at, among others, Camp Seminole, McKee Park, Ms. Smith’s Educational Services, Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, Palmer Home Thrift Store, The Salvation Army, Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Oktibbeha County Fire Station and Starkville Community Theatre. For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, visit

Learn more about MSU’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at