United States Circuit Judge Roger L. Gregory emphasized Fisk’s commitment to excellence and cited its reputation for “training the best to do the best” during the convocation address at Fisk University’s commemoration of the legacy and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday, January 15, 2009 in Fisk Memorial Chapel.
“To speak at Fisk University where Dr. King spoke many times during the Civil Rights Movement is humbling and is one of the greatest honors that I have received,” Gregory said. “Dr. King was more than a dreamer. He took an active roll in leadership to make social change a reality.”
Gregory became the first African American nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 2000. Gregory was renominated one year later by President George Bush becoming the only judge to receive consecutive nominations from both major parties. The Fourth Circuit includes the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Fisk also recognized its 26 Presidential Scholars and 101 Provost Scholars during the convocation. Fisk Presidential Scholars have completed 16 or more credit hours and have earned a term average of 4.0. Provost Scholars have completed 16 or more credit hours and have earned a 3.5 term average.
Since 1985, Fisk University has commemorated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As the civil rights era gained momentum in the late 1950’s, Dr. King gave the first of many civil rights speeches in Fisk’s Memorial Chapel. King’s appearances at Fisk called attention to an active student body already engaged in non-violent activism. Even before activists in the early 1980s worked to gain a national holiday for Dr. King, Fisk was one of the first Nashville institutions to hold commemorative events in King’s honor.