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Dr. Kevin Smith speaks at UC’s Founder’s Day


Williamsburg, Ky. – Dr. Kevin Smith was the special speaker on January 20, 2014, for University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Founder’s Day and the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Rick Fleenor began the celebration of the memory of King Jr. by showing a video of his “I Have a Dream” speech. Fleenor then elaborated on the legacy of UC and encouraged the students to continue that legacy.

“Be a light of hope, not only in Appalachia, but throughout the states and the world,” said Dr. Fleenor.

Fleenor introduced Dr. Smith; the teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. Smith continued the legacy theme through his speech as he spoke about Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of his efforts during the Civil Rights Movement.

Smith explained how King, Jr. had to withstand outside criticism as he worked towards justice and international peace as he was willing to endure opposition. He humbled and critiqued himself to become a better person.

“Legacy can be complex and misunderstood,” Smith said. “Primary sources are how we know what a person said and meant.”

Today, people have tried to sanitize King, Jr.’s ideas, control his image, and twist his humanity. Dr. Smith encouraged students to read King, Jr.’s writings that were published after 1965. Smith conveyed the message about how one person’s legacy can shape a nation and world and encouraged students to live a life that would do the same.

Dr.Kevin Smith has served as a pastor in Kentucky and Tennessee. He is a former Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow and is a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Dr. Smith was also elected as the first African American Vice President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2006.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit

Article provided by Lydia Huggins and Amanda Kelly, UC Multimedia and Athletic Services Department Student Assistants