Concordia University, Nebraska welcomed alumnus Gary Spiller to campus as part of an annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy to speak to faculty, staff and students.
Spiller, an educator with extensive history of student-centered service in both Los Angeles and St. Louis, currently serves as executive director of student services and innovation for The School District of University City in Missouri. On Tuesday, he spoke in several classes and held at a keynote presentation that evening.
The last year of Dr. King’s life was the focus of Spiller’s message and he urged the students of Concordia to emulate the civil rights leader’s three main characteristics. These include unflinching courage, transformational love and servant-leadership. In addition, he challenged students to step out of their comfort zone and form relationships with people different than themselves.
“It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but hard to be transformational,” Spiller said. “What would it do for this campus if we show true transformational love to each other?”
Spiller briefly mentioned Ferguson, Missouri and the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed black man saying, “The real tragedy is after the tragedy when people go back to living as they were before.”
His final challenge to the audience was to be mindful of their legacy, “If you do these three things, you will make a difference.”
An additional celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and Black History Month will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Weller Chapel Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.