UAPB to award honorary doctorate to commencement speaker



The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will award an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and chief executive officer of The King Center, during fall commencement exercises. The free, public event will be held Friday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the Pine Bluff Convention Center arena. Dr. King will deliver the keynote address.

“We are proud to recognize Dr. King as a beacon of light and hope for her many remarkable contributions and accomplishments,” UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander said. “She is an extraordinary leader, and she serves as an excellent role model for our graduates.”

The King Center was founded by Dr. King’s mother in 1968 and she was appointed to this position in January 2012 by the Board of Trustees. Nationally and internationally known as one of the most powerful, motivating and life-changing orators and speakers on the circuit today, Bernice leaves her audiences speechless and challenges people to raise the standard.  The youngest daughter of the late Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice began her oratorical journey when she spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17.  Over the years, she has had the occasion to speak in such places as the steps of The Lincoln Memorial, The White House, major corporations and universities, and in places throughout the world including South Africa, Germany, and New Zealand to name a few.

King is a graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Law Degrees from Emory University.  She has also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Wesley College. In honor of her mother, Coretta Scott King, Bernice returned to her alma-mater at Spelman College to announce the establishment of the Be A King® Scholarship. She is currently a member of the State Bar of Georgia, serves on the HOPE Southeastern Board of Directors of Operation HOPE, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum.

With a strong concern for youth, family and community partnership, King was privileged to serve as a law clerk in the Fulton County Juvenile Court system, under Judge Glenda Hatchett, who was host of the nationally syndicated Judge Hatchett show.

Through her work at the King Center, she has continued to educate youth and adults about the nonviolence principles modeled by her parents which included Nonviolence 365 education training in Ferguson, Missouri that included students, teachers, law enforcement, gangs, businesses, community leaders and activists.  She encouraged them to commit themselves to embracing nonviolence as a lifestyle.

In January 2015, under Dr. King’s leadership, The King Center hosted its first Beloved Community Talk entitled “The Race Factor: The Lies, The Myths and The Truths” as part of its 2015 King Holiday Observance. One of the most moving and inspirational experiences hosted by Bernice, was The King Center’s program commemorating her mother’s life and legacy, entitled “Mothers in the Movement: From a Daughter’s Perspective.”

Dr. King has been featured on numerous television shows, in magazines, as a television commentator and is the recipient of a host of awards and accolades. A noted author, she has to her credit, Hard Questions, Heart Answers, a compelling and inspiring book. She is an innovative, energetic and committed leader dedicated to fulfilling the calling of taking her parents legacy and The King Center into a new era.


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