Penn State Berks to host Martin Luther King Jr. banquet on Jan. 15

READING, Pa. — Penn State Berks will host a banquet in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 15. The event will be held in the Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will begin at 6 p.m. This event is free for the campus community but seating is limited and attendees must have a ticket in advance.

This year’s keynote speaker is Aaron Willford Jr., PA Commission on African American Affairs. During the banquet, awards will be presented to students who have demonstrated the characteristics for which King was known: leadership, community involvement, and efforts towards social justice. Two Penn State Berks students will receive awards: Aymed Rodriguez Ortiz and Shivansh Bhatt.

Beginning last year, local high and middle school students were eligible to receive an award at the banquet. This year, Glenside Elementary School fifth-grader Carmello Harris was selected. According to his nomination, he is a good student and serves as a safety patrol member. He is described as polite, respectful, and an excellent big brother to his little sister. His teacher wrote: “He takes initiatives in whole and small group settings to complete tasks, he leads by example (doing the right thing, staying on task, sharing his thoughts and ideas).”

Berks students were asked to nominate a faculty/staff member for an award; JoAnne Pumariega, instructor in mathematics and Spanish, will receive the faculty award, while Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez, coordinator of diversity and international programs, will receive the staff award.

For additional information or to reserve a seat, contact Joseph Webb, director of student support services, at 610-396-6072 or