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Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner at NMSU features University of Minnesota speaker

Black Programs at New Mexico State University will hold its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in the Corbett Center Ballrooms.

Festus Addo-Yobo, director of Black Programs at NMSU, said the dinner is to commemorate past and present leaders who have played roles in the civil rights movement.

"Right now we are living a legacy of the civil rights movement," Addo-Yobo said. "History doesn't make us, people make history."

Speaking at the dinner will be Robert J. Jones, senior vice president for system administration at the University of Minnesota. He oversees diversity, multiculturalism, equal opportunity, international programs and research and outreach programs among other things at UM.

"Jones will be talking about building community unity in university systems and how to use it progressively in institutional goals," Addo-Yobo said.

Jones also is a professor in agronomy and plant genetics, an internationally recognized authority on corn physiology and cofounder of Sounds of Blackness, a Grammy Award-winning gospel group.

Jones has worked for 10 years to provide South African students with opportunities to attend U.S. colleges and universities, including UM. Addo-Yobo said UM has strived to educate students of many backgrounds.

"He is unique because he's helped in the education of Asian, African-American and Russian students," Addo-Yobo said of Jones. "One-eighth of the most powerful people in China have attended the University of Minnesota."

Jones received a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State University in Georgia, a master's degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from the University of Missouri in crop physiology.

Tickets for the dinner will be $35 for general admission and $15 for students. For more information call (575) 646-4208.