Ashley Offutt to lead MC’s 2018 MLK Day observances

Ashley Offutt to lead MC’s 2018 MLK Day observances 

Dec. 20, 2017 

Ashley Offutt, associate director for diverse retention at Eastern Kentucky University, will speak to the Maryville College community on Mon., Jan. 15, 2018 during the College’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observances.

Offutt will speak at 11 a.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall. 

The title of her presentation is “In the Noonhour.”

“Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929,” Offutt said in the description of her topic. “He entered this world at noon. It is known, and appreciated, that Dr. King made an impact on this world. What steps will you take to make an impact? What will you do when the noon hour approaches? (On Jan. 15, 2018), I want to work with you to develop your intrinsic motivator. What mark will you leave?”

A first-generation college graduate from Louisville, Ky., Offutt earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies and her minor in African/African-American studies from Eastern Kentucky University. Upon graduating, Offutt was hired as an admissions counselor at Berea College. During her time at Berea, the college saw a 62 percent increase in applications from diverse areas. At the conclusion of her time at Berea College, she transitioned to a role at Eastern Kentucky University as an assistant online coordinator for EKU Online. During her time in the role, she implemented the data files to effectively engage with underrepresented minorities within online programming. Outside of academia, she serves at her local church and spends time mentoring youth. 

The MLK Day event, which is sponsored by Maryville College’s Multicultural Center and Black Student Alliance, is free and open to the public. Voices of Praise, Maryville College’s gospel choir, will perform during the event, and Maryville College students will give readings.

Following the program, a “soul food” lunch menu will be served in the Margaret Ware Dining Room of Pearsons Hall. The cost is $8.50 for members of the public, payable at the door.

For more information, please contact Larry Ervin, director of multicultural affairs at Maryville College, at 865.981.8222 or

Blount County MLK Celebration events

The theme for the Blount County MLK Celebration for 2018 is “Celebrating Life and Legacy: 50 Years and Beyond.” The celebration will include several community events and activities:

Fri., Jan. 12 at noon – The MLK Business Luncheon will be held at the Airport Hilton. The keynote speaker for the event is Lori Tucker, WATE-TV news anchor. The cost is $35 per person or $350 per table of 10. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Blount County Chamber of Commerce at 865.983.2241.

Sat., Jan. 13 from 3-5 p.m. – The second annual MLK Kids and Families Fair, held at the Blount County Public Library, is sponsored by Blount County United, Blount County Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Talking with Kids & Teens about Race, Blount County NAACP chapter and Maryville College. The drop-in style, family-oriented event is for children of all ages and will offer a variety of fun activities and educational displays to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free and open to the public. Interpreting is available for ASL, Japanese and Spanish.

Sat., Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. – The Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir will perform, under the direction of Jeanie Melton, at Alcoa High School. The event is jointly sponsored by HOME, Inc. A donation of $20 per ticket is required to attend the event and can be purchased by calling Judy Watson-Knight at 865.368.0532. 

Sun., Jan. 14 at 4 p.m. – Community Worship Service at First Baptist Church (202 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Maryville). The Rev. Joe B. Maddox, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Knoxville, will be the speaker.

Mon., Jan. 15 –Blount County Martin Luther King Jr. March and Celebration (sponsored by the Blount County MLK Planning Committee):

  • 12:45 p.m.– Parade marchers are asked to assemble at the MLK Community Center (209 East Franklin Street) in Alcoa.
  • 1 p.m. – The annual MLK Day March, honoring the peaceful protests that Martin Luther King, Jr. led across the South, will begin at the MLK Center and end at the Clayton Center for the Arts.
  • 2 p.m. – The MLK Celebration Program will begin in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre. The keynote speaker is Marc Burnett, vice president for student affairs at Tennessee Technical University. The MLK Celebration Choir will perform. The event is free and open to the community.

For more information and updates about the Blount County MLK Celebration events for 2018, please visit the Blount County MLK Celebration Facebook page.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.