Cheyney University Welcomes Dr. Bernice A. King for March 1 Founder’s Day Program


Contact: Public Relations Director

Gwen Owens, 610 399-2121 or

Pam Carter, 610 399-2515

Bernice A. King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, will be the Keynote Speaker at Cheyney University’s 176th Founder’s Day on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 1 pm

CHEYNEY, PA. – January 22, 2013.  In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” and other landmark Civil Rights activities which took place in that year, Cheyney University (CU) will celebrate its 176th Founder’s Day on Friday, March 1, 2013. Bernice A. King will serve as speaker at the program in Marian Anderson Theatre at 1:00 pm.  The program will feature The Cheyney Players and the music of CU’s famed music department.

The youngest daughter of the late Coretta Scott King and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ms. King began her oratorical journey when she spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17. Since then, she has addressed audiences around the world, and in the United States. Nationally and internationally known as one of today’s most powerful, motivating and life-changing orators and speakers, Ms. King challenges people to“Raise the Standard.”

Ms. King holds a dear tie to Cheyney University as her aunt and uncle, the late Mrs. Edythe Scott-Bagley, who developed the theatre arts program, and Mr. Arthur M. Bagley, who was chairman of the Industrial Arts Department, set a long tradition at the university.  Edythe Scott-Bagley, who taught at CU for 25 years (1971 to 1996), was a close confidante of her younger sister, Coretta Scott King.   Her legacy at CU lives on through the theatre arts program and The Cheyney Players, a faculty-directed student drama organization.  Mrs. Scott-Bagley was the author of Desert Rose:  The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King – an intimate biography of her sister and her life with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It is with great honor that we welcome Dr. Bernice A. King to Cheyney University to celebrate our Founder’s Day.  I have had the distinct pleasure to greet Dr. King and listen to her oratorical excellence. We welcome her, and look forward to her interactions with students,” stated Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, President.

Ms. King is the CEO of The King Center, which was founded by her mother in 1968, and is experiencing revitalization under her leadership, including the preservation and digitization of its one-of-a-kind archives. She is a graduate of Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  She holds two degrees – a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate of Law – from Emory University (Atlanta, GA) and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Wesley College (Dover, DE).  She is currently a member of the State Bar of Georgia. In 2007 on the 1st year anniversary of her mother’s death, Bernice returned to her alma-mater at Spelman College to announce the establishment of the “Be A King Scholarship” in honor of Coretta Scott King.

Ms. King serves on the boards of the Southeastern Board of Directors of Operation HOPE and the inaugural Regions Diversity Advisory Council for Regions Financial Corporation. In 2007, she spoke at the inauguration of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA), where she gave the charge to the girls who would be attending the new all-girls school.  She continues to serve as a mentor for the young ladies and launched the “100 Days of Nonviolence” campaign at the Academy to expose the students to nonviolence as modeled by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to encourage them to begin embracing it as a way of life.

She is the founder of Be A King, whose mission is to re-brand and re-image generations of people to elevate the way they “Think, Act, Live and Lead”.  In 2007, she launched the first “Be A King Summit” in Montgomery, Alabama on the campus of Alabama State University.

Ms. King has been featured on national television and many publications and was recognized as a “Woman of Strength and Courage” by the American Legacy magazine in 2005. She received the 2009 “Lifetime Achievement Advocate Award” from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. and was featured in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta in 2012.  She is the author of Hard Questions, Heart Answers, a compelling and inspiring book.

1963 was the year that changed everything in the Civil Rights Movement, marked by demonstrations and protests challenging segregation in the South; the arrest and subsequent jailing of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama which led him to pen the infamous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; the integration of the University of Alabama; the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church which killed 4 beautiful young girls; the August 28th  “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” which drew 250,000 people to the nation’s capital where many heard the legendary “I Have a Dream” speech; and the assassinations of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and President John F. Kennedy.  In addition, Bayard Rustin, Civil Rights activist and organizer of the “March on Washington,” attended Cheyney University and a local high school near the campus is named in his honor.

A liberal arts university, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania hosts signature programs such as the Keystone Honors Academy, the Call Me Mister teaching program, the Aquaculture Research and Teaching Laboratory and the accredited Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program.  Recognized as the first institution for higher learning for African Americans, Cheyney University recently celebrated its 175th Anniversary.  The University offers baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at two locations, Cheyney and Philadelphia, PA – Center City.  For more information, please visit the website at

To schedule an interview with Ms. King or for more information on this and other Founder’s Day Week events, please contact Gwen Owens, Director of Public Relations, 610-399-2121 or via email at


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