MLK Humanitarian Awards Honor McKendree Junior, Assistant Director of Office of Residential Life

(LEBANON, Ill., January 25, 2023) – A business administration major and the assistant director of the Office of Residential Life were this year’s recipients of McKendree University’s 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards at a celebration held on Thursday, January 19 at the Hettenhausen Center of the Arts. The annual awards celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Reverend Dr. King. This year’s recipients have demonstrated care and compassion, understanding and tolerance for all people, and humanitarian principles and ideals. They have also led or participated in service programs that reflect these ideals.

Jamari Jackson, a junior from Belleville, Ill., is the president of McKendree’s Black Student Organization (BSO), a senator in Student Government Association (SGA), and a member of Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honor Society. Jackson has also been involved with the McKendree debate team, finishing his best season ranked 17th in the nation. He plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree at McKendree after graduation.

“This award means a lot to me, my family, and especially my mom,” Jackson said upon receiving the award. “It’s an honor to be able to inspire and encourage the students at McKendree to do more.”

Millard Curtis of O’Fallon, Ill., is the assistant director of the Office of Residential Life at McKendree and has been at the University for three years. A highly-involved member of Faith Family Church of Shiloh, Curtis is also involved with Black Men of McKendree and Come to the Table, a young adult ministry at the University.

“I strive to do the best I can,” Curtis said. “My passion is to promote change and inspire others. The work is never done.”

Guest speaker Leon Richardson, a local gospel artist and 2011 graduate from McKendree University, presented his keynote speech, which highlighted Dr. King’s impact and the common language we all share: music. He noted how Dr. King would begin and end meetings with song and how it would unify, inspire and give hope to listeners and activists alike.

“Unity is a powerful weapon, and when we use it, we will see a change,” Richardson said. “Keep your sound alive!”






MLK Humanitarian Awardees with University President

Photo caption: Junior Jamari Jackson (left) and assistant director of the Office of Residential Life Millard Curtis (middle) received the 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards from McKendree University President Daniel C. Dobbins (right).


MLK Humanitarian Awardee - Jamari Jackson

Photo caption: Jamari Jackson, a junior at McKendree University, is the student recipient of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.


MLK Humanitarian Awardee - Millard Curtis

Photo caption: Millard Curtis, assistant director of the Office at Residential Life at McKendree University, is this year’s staff winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.