Ivy Tech sets Dr. Cornel West as ‘Doing the Dream’ keynote speaker Jan. 26, 27, 2023

Last Updated on December 19, 2022 by Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Area

Dr. Cornel West

KOKOMO, Ind. – Distinguished philosopher, author and social commentator Dr. Cornel West will serve as the keynote speaker for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo’s 19th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. West will speak at the event’s annual community banquet set for Jan. 26 on the Ivy Tech Kokomo campus and at a free student convocation Jan. 27.

The internationally recognized speaker, known for his depth of knowledge and his passionate communication style, will share his commitment to keeping alive the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We are excited and honored to welcome to Kokomo such a renowned, respected and influential leader as Dr. West,” said DeAndra Beard-Ingram, who is leading the Doing the Dream 2023 committee as the new director of diversity, equity and belonging for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area.

“With a theme of ‘Empowering Our Community,’ Dr. West will honor Dr. King’s legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice,” she said. “We look forward to words that will inspire us to action in that cause. My hope is that our action will be steeped in deep reflection leading us to answer the challenging questions ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Who can we become?’ as a community.”

Affectionately known to many as Brother West, he has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

“Doing the Dream 2023” will include the annual community banquet, to start at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in Hingst Hall on the Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus, and a free student convocation open to high school and college students Friday, Jan. 27, that will be offered in-person and virtually.

Tickets are now on sale for the evening banquet that annually brings leaders from throughout the community together with the distinguished speaker to address issues of local, state and national importance. Individual tickets are $60 each and will be available until Jan. 20, unless sold out earlier. All proceeds support the Ivy Tech Kokomo “Doing the Dream” Diversity Scholarship. More information is available at or by contacting Miriam Thomas, Ivy Tech Kokomo resource development director, at or 765-252-5500.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is again serving as lead sponsor to support participation by a noted speaker for the “Doing the Dream” events. Other community sponsors include Community Howard Regional Health, Stellantis, Security Federal Savings Bank, City of Kokomo, Haynes International, and Howard County government.

The student convocation, set for 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27, is geared toward college students and high school juniors and seniors and is open to school groups, home schoolers and individual students. West will be speaking from the stage in Hingst Hall for those able to attend in person. The program will also be available virtually via a Zoom link, with college and school groups and classes around the state expected to join. For more information on how to participate, contact Tashona Jones, director of Student Success and Retention for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, at or 765-252-5463.

Beard-Ingram noted that since 2005, Ivy Tech Kokomo’s “Doing the Dream: A Cultural Celebration” has been an annual event for the community and local students designed to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity as expressed by Dr. King. “Over the last 18 years, we estimate more than 28,000 people – school children, high school and college students, teachers and faculty members, religious and civic leaders, and community members – have participated in ‘Doing the Dream’ activities,” she said.

West is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary. He teaches on the works of the noted German theologian and Nazi dissident, as well as courses in Philosophy of Religion, African American Critical Thought, and a wide range of subjects – including but by no means limited to, the classics, philosophy, politics, cultural theory, literature, and music.

He is the former Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

West has partnered with to provide teachings on several influential courses including a class with Pharrell Williams on Empathy, MasterClass’s first-ever multi-instructor class on Black History, Black Freedom & Black Love, as well as his standalone class on Philosophy. For more information, visit his website, or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Service Area

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