Young Draws Inspiration from MLK Jr.’s Words to Drive Impactful Change

Mississippi State University held its 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, which was attended by students, faculty, staff, community members, clergy, and elected officials. The event was well-attended, despite the impending winter weather.

Camille Scales Young, a two-time MSU alumna and principal and director with Cornerstone Government Affairs, served as the keynote speaker. In her remarks, she reflected on the legacy of Dr. King and discussed ways to carry forward his dream.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum presents an engraved cowbell to Camille Scales Young, keynote speaker for the university’s 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast on Monday [Jan. 15]. (Photo by Jonah Holland)

“I am grateful for this gathering and inspired to see all of you as we gather to commemorate the legacy of a man who dedicated his life to justice, equality, and the relentless pursuit of a dream,” Young said. “On this special day, we honor not only the memory of the dreamer, but we also focus on continuing his efforts for the betterment of mankind and making his dream a reality.”

Young referenced several of King’s notable quotes that continue to inspire both those who worked during the Civil Rights Movement as well as younger generations.

“As we remember Dr. King’s words, let us not merely echo them on this annual holiday but live their meaning in our actions, policies, and in our everyday interactions. It is important that we remember what Dr. King said, ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’ That was true then and definitely is true today. Let’s be extremely proud of how far we’ve come in our world and still be very realistic about how far we have yet to go. We can make a difference,” Young said.

Young, a Shannon native and former national board president of the MSU Alumni Association, earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1994 and a master’s degree in agriculture and extension education with an emphasis in public policy in 1996. She has received numerous prestigious accolades, including being named the 2021 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Fellow, a member of the Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 50 Business Women, and a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi. In 2017, she was included in the inaugural class of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Mississippi. Young and her husband Keith, residents of Madison County, have three children, including two who are MSU graduates.

Members of the Kappa Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., gave a special tribute during the university’s 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast on Monday [Jan. 15].
Members of the Kappa Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., give a special tribute during the university’s annual MLK Jr. program. (Photo by Jonah Holland)

MSU President Mark E. Keenum also delivered his annual welcoming remarks and recognized the Black Voices Gospel Choir, the Kappa Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and program moderator Bria Young, an MSU sociology doctoral student specializing in African American Studies. Keenum celebrated MSU’s diverse culture and family-like environment, highlighting the university’s recent national diversity recognition.

“It’s a reflection of the values and commitments our institution has of making everyone—and I mean everyone who steps foot on our campus—feel welcome,” Keenum said.

Keenum emphasized that MSU is the most diverse university in the Southeastern Conference and the most diverse land-grant university in the country. MSU’s student body represents every county in Mississippi, all U.S. states, and roughly 90 other nations.

“With all of the differences we have from around the world, I tell students we have one thing in common—we’re all Bulldogs,” Keenum said, adding that Bulldogs have a unique culture of caring for one another.

Despite the cold temperatures, many MLK Jr. Day of Service activities carried on after the breakfast. University and community volunteers participated in various service projects in Starkville and the Golden Triangle area.

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