Campus community celebrates MLK by honoring service

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

January 20, 2011

ambrose_signingThe 23rd annual MLK Celebration will be held on Monday, Jan. 24, at 12:30 p.m. in the Faculty Conference Room on the Worcester campus.  

"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve." 
from “The Drum Major Instinct” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


On Monday, Jan. 24, UMass Medical School will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by honoring members of the UMMS community whose actions exemplify the characteristics of greatness, as defined by Dr. King in his famous speech delivered two months before his death in 1968. The 23rd annual program will also feature a keynote address by Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, MD. 

Dr. Bigby’s career reflects a commitment to service as a primary care physician, professor and health policy expert. As a health care provider and educator, she advocated for culturally inclusive care aligned with patients’ gender, race, ethnicity and their situation in the community as a means of providing better care. She was appointed secretary of EOHHS—which oversees 17 state agencies—by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2006. In this role, Bigby helps ensure that the state delivers high-quality and accessible services to all Massachusetts residents. 

Chancellor Michael F. Collins will present several new awards designed to spotlight individuals who are demonstrably committed to the institution’s mission of promoting diversity, civility and community service. The Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity will recognize an individual or group whose actions further institution’s commitment to diversity, and the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Civility will recognize an individual or group that fosters the values described in the UMMS civility statement. Dean Terence R. Flotte will also recognize the recipients of the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service Student Awards, developed and funded by the Building on the Promise: Learn and Serve program at UMass Medical School. 

Deborah Plummer, PhD, associate vice chancellor of diversity and equal opportunity, will open the program with a welcome address. James Leary, vice chancellor of community and government relations, will introduce “UMMS Cares,” a video that highlights UMMS community service initiatives. In keeping with tradition, a member of the UMMS community—this year, Nancy M. Fontneau, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology—will lead the singing of “We Shall Overcome” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

The program will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Faculty Conference Room at the Worcester Campus. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. for lunch. Please RSVP to Nellie Toney at

Related links:

New Chancellor’s Awards recognize diversity and civility
MLK Semester of Service Student Award support local health projects
Learn and Serve grant helps students make a difference