Champlain College to Focus on 'Let Us Teach' and Sharing the Vision of Dr. Martin Luther King

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Champlain College will honor the memory and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with a day-long "Let Us Teach" series of short talks and films on Monday, Jan. 15.

A highlight of the day is the keynote address by  Dr. T. Leon Williams and Maria Dykema Erb, authors of "The View from the Mountaintop: What Would Dr. King Have to Say Today?" who will share one of the book's monologues and lead a discussion about the importance of building connection across identity and differences. The talk is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Champlain Room at the Center for Communication and Creative Media, at Champlain College. All events are free and open to the public.

In his current position as the Youth-Young Adult Pastor, First Missionary Baptist Church in Concord, North Carolina, Dr. T. Leon Williams continues a career path built on service and education. He has held numerous roles in higher education, including Director of the Multicultural Center at Elon University and Director of the Intercultural Program at Buena Vista University. He is also CEO of T.L. Williams & Associates, a consulting firm that he founded in 2008 to provide Diversity Intelligence to managers, executives, and proprietors.

Maria Dykema Erb is a higher education and student affairs professional with a wide range of experience in admissions and enrollment management, academic dean's office and program administration, and the holistic development of students with diverse backgrounds.As a proud first-generation college graduate, Erb has a Master of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Higher Education, Leadership, and Counseling from the University of Vermont. While employed at UVM, she held several roles in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, the Women's Agricultural Network, The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and the ALANA Student Center. She currently works at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as the Co-Director for Diversity and Student Success in The Graduate School. "We are excited to be able to bring this day of learning to Champlain College and the community at large," said Angela Batista, Vice President for Student Life and Special Adviser to the President for Diversity and Inclusion.

"This is an ambitious program with something for everyone to learn from. It provides an open forum for students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to add their voices to the discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and the challenging work that still remains for us in the days ahead. We are grateful to the many students, faculty, and staff who have supported our planning." The MLK Celebration events begin at 9 a.m. in the Champlain Room with a series of talks by Champlain students, faculty and alumni on topics ranging from "Diversity, Inclusion and Opportunities in Higher Education" to "Surviving Civil War in Sudan" to "Information Accessibility on the Internet. "Running concurrently with the talks is a film series in the Alumni Auditorium, located next door to the Champlain Room:

  • 9 a.m.: "Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed" (2005) about Shirley Chisholm,the first black woman elected to Congress who later ran for President in 1972. .
  • 10:30 a.m.: "I Am Not Your Negro" (2017) a cinematic conclusion to James Baldwin's unfinished novel about the assassination of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 12:15 p.m.: "The Mask You Live In" (2015) follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's limited view of masculinity.
  • 2 p.m.: "Walls/Muros" (2015) chronicles of the lives of those who live on both sides of walls designed to separate cultures and people around the world.
  • 5 p.m.: "Watchers of the Sky" (2014) four stories of remarkable courage, compassion and determination to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin - the man who created the word "genocide."
  • 7:30 p.m.: "Sepideh - Reaching for the Stars" (2013) the story of the first self-funded female space explorer to become an astronaut.  

View the full MLK Celebration schedule and complete film descriptions online for the 2018 MLK Celebration and Let Us Teach day.

Learn more about Diversity and Inclusion at Champlain College. For more information, email

The 2018 MLK Celebration events is being sponsored by the Champlain College President's Office and many college partners. Please visit our website for an updated list.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit