To All of Our Campus Community:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. This speech and that historic March on Washington in 1963 are truly defining moments in our nation’s history. Indeed, a number of our own campus and community members experienced in person those remarkable moments on the National Mall. For many, that speech and the events that inspired it were a turning point for civil rights and social equality in this country. But there is also an open and continuing debate about how far we have come on the road to realizing the dream Dr. King so brilliantly etched into our national memory. It is a debate we see nationally, regionally, and even here locally. 

At Illinois, a public university founded on the promise of educational access and opportunity, we may debate how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. But we can all share the goal of a community where diverse perspectives and backgrounds are all welcome and where all ideas have a place in the discussion.

For us, excellence is tied inextricably to diversity. When people on our campus are more diverse, the conversations in the classroom, in the lab, in the studio, and in the residence hall are richer and the solutions are better. This is reflected institutionally in our Diversity Values Statement adopted last year by the Academic Senate and it can be found in our Inclusive Illinois: one campus, many voices initiative.

Dr. King’s words are so eloquent and moving it is no wonder that even those of us who have heard them many times are still so awed by them.

And while none of us may match that eloquence, we can all understand his message.

Together, all together, we are simply a better university and a better community.


Phyllis M. Wise, Chancellor
Ilesanmi Adesida, Provost

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