February 23, 2021
Presented by Albion College and the NAACP Albion Branch, the 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation and Community Celebration will tie history and the present together with its program titled ”Justice and Health Disparities in the Midst of a Pandemic.” University of Michigan virologist A. Oveta Fuller, Ph.D., an ordained itinerant elder and former pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will be the featured guest speaker during the virtual Zoom event, which begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, and will also be streamed on Albion College’s Facebook page.
Dr. Fuller’s expertise in building bridges between scientific, religious and public communities has made her an exceptionally valuable resource in fighting COVID-19 on multiple fronts. She is on the faculty at the U of M’s Medical School and African Studies Center, and is an adjunct professor at Payne Theological Seminary. Her medical and dental school students, seminary students and undergraduate students learn to prevent infectious diseases as scientists, public health workers and faith leaders, often working with programs Dr. Fuller helped establish in the U.S. and countries around the globe.
A microbiologist specializing in human infectious diseases, Dr. Fuller serves on the nation’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. This is the committee that has been examining COVID-19 vaccines for the Food and Drug Administration and recommends them for use by the public.
"We are privileged to be able to welcome Dr. Fuller for this year's event," said Patrick McLean, director of the College's Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service. "Each year the Convocation enables Albion College and the Albion community to deepen connections and build new ones, and while we won't be able to gather in person at the Bohm Theatre downtown, our speaker's dedication to serving the public through her research and her faith will further strengthen those connections."
"Dr. Fuller embodies everything we're trying to build in terms of public health and interdisciplinary health studies at Albion College," said Dr. Brad Rabquer, associate professor biology and director of the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine, which recently announced new programming for students interested health disparities in fields such as public health, nursing and medical school. "Listening to her insights and expertise on the science of the virus and the vaccine-approval process will be a great learning opportunity for Albion students. I'm looking forward to an inspiring evening."
"The MLK Jr. Convocation has kept the spirit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive by not only speaking to the pressing issues of our time, but also bringing the community together and fostering a shared identity of belonging and hope," said Rev. Donald L. Phillips, chaplain of Albion College and president of the Albion Ministerial Association. "Rev. Dr. Fuller also has a multifaceted call on her life to be able to understand the science, share the truth and undergird us with a hopeful resilience. Even in a virtual presentation, I believe our minds will be challenged and our hearts uplifted by this year's MLK Jr. Convocation and speaker."
To view the event, register to join on the Zoom platform, or watch via Facebook Live on the College’s Facebook page. The virtual presentation is free and open to the public and will be available for later viewing through Albion College social media.