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Speakers Set For 2006 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events


January 6, 2006

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Two of central Ohio's most outstanding leaders will keynote the 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service and the 13th annual MLK Jr. Breakfast Celebration this year.

Janet E. Jackson, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Ohio, will address the worship service at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Asbury United Methodist Church (55 W. Lincoln Ave., Delaware). The question -- "What Matters?" -- will be the title of her address.

Dr. Donna Browder Evans, a Glenn Scholar for urban educational policy at The Ohio State University's John Glenn Institute for Public Affairs and Public Policy, will keynote the breakfast program at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, in the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center's Benes Room at Ohio Wesleyan University. The theme for the upcoming MLK Jr. commemoration programs, "The Dream Still Matters," will be the title of Dr. Evans' address.

Before coming to the United Way in 2003, Jackson served six years as Columbus City Attorney. Prior to that, she served nearly 10 years as a Franklin County Municipal Court judge.

Although widely praised for her work as a lawyer and judge, Jackson describes her role at United Way as "the most challenging and rewarding work I've ever done. It enables me to act on my passion for helping others and making central Ohio a better place to live for all, but particularly for those facing adversity. I find in the role opportunity to create systemic change by helping United Way serve as a leader in creating community impact that deals quickly with people's short-term issues like hunger and homelessness while working long-term on the challenges that cause the loss of basic needs for individuals and families."

A 1975 graduate of Wittenberg University with a Bachelor's degree in history, she received her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University in 1978.

Jackson currently serves as vice-chair for the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Board, as immediate past president of Columbus Metropolitan Club and on the boards of the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence, Leadership Columbus, The Center for Child and Family Advocacy, The Capitol Club and Morty's Kids Foundations.

In recognition of her outstanding life of public service, she has received numerous awards including: the Columbus Bar Association's 2005 Liberty Bell Award; Woman of Achievement Award from YWCA Columbus; Peacemaker Award from CHOICES (a local organization helping battered women); and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Columbus Education Association. In 2001, she was inducted in the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame.

After receiving her B/Sc., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State, Dr. Evans did postgraduate studies at the University of Rochester, the Institute for Reality Therapy and Harvard University.

She launched her professional career in Ohio public schools, teaching math and later serving as guidance counselor in the city of Columbus. She would spend 18 years teaching at the college level, beginning at the University of Cincinnati and ending at Skidmore College. Then she combined the academic duties of professor of education and the administrative duties of dean of the College of Education, successively, at Wayne State University, the University of North Florida, Old Dominion University and Ohio State, from which she retired to become Emeritus Dean and professor at its College of Education.

Her publications include a book on An Analysis of Learning Disabilities for the Classroom Teacher, numerous papers for learned societies, several manuals for teachers and counselors, a monograph on America's People: An Imperiled Resource, technical reports, handbooks, brochures and book reviews.

In addition to her writing, Dr. Evans has served her profession by keynoting conferences on education, reality therapy and counseling throughout this country and Canada and by serving on the editorial boards of several educational and counseling journals.

Despite her heavy schedule of professional duties, she has found time to lend her hands, mind and heart to extend the benefits of "liberty and justice for all" Americans, and especially America's children."

Dr. Evans has received many honors, including induction into Phi Lamda Theta International Honor Society for Women Educators, not only for her achievements as an educator, but also for her contribution to the education of educators.

Local participants on the breakfast program will include: Darryl Peal, OWU's Director of Minority Student Affairs; OWU President Mark Huddleston; Alfreda Bonner; Mayor Windell Wheeler; Nancy Snook; Dr. William Billinghurst; Professor Diane Turner-Sharazz and Dean John Kampen, both of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio; Dr. Mary Anne Ashworth, Superintendent of Delaware City Schools; and Tiffany Crawford, a senior at OWU, who will deliver a tribute to "The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," Rosa Parks.