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Press Release

Metro State Honors Civic Leadership

20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Breakfast 1/14

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: January 10, 2011

(Denver, Colo.) — The 20th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Breakfast, hosted by Metropolitan State College of Denver, will be held Jan. 14, 2011 in the Tivoli Turnhalle on the Auraria Campus from 8 a.m. -10 a.m. The keynote presentation is being delivered by outgoing Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Terrance Carroll.

The breakfast was created to celebrate the life and philosophy of Dr. King and includes a cultural program as well as an awards ceremony, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to peace, justice and the values expressed by Dr. King. This year's honorees include: Geri Grimes; Opalanga Pugh, posthumously; Aaron Smith and Psychology Professor Mary Ann Watson.

Geri Grimes has served the community for more than 35 years. As the executive director of the Hope Center, she has advocated for equal opportunity for people of color, those with disabilities and for community members whose culture isn’t understood or respected.

Opalanga Pugh (posthumously) touched the lives of so many through her gift of story telling and community activity. She was a champion for her community and facilitated a number of educational workshops specific to diversity training, community health/wellness, African oral tradition, African American history in the West, ceremonies/rituals and conflict mediation.

Aaron Smith is the president of the Metro State chapter of the Student Association for Social Workers and was instrumental in developing “Change for Change,” a program in 2010 that raised money for the working poor and food for the Metro State Food Bank. Smith also works with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, whose mission is dedicated to progressing personal and social change through unconditional nonviolence. He also has helped create a restorative justice program in Colorado schools.

Mary Ann Watson, Ph.D. is a psychologist and a Metro State faculty member for 37 years. For the last 11 years she has worked as director, producer, narrator and researcher with several Metro State faculty members to produce films that advocate for diversity and disenfranchised populations. Most recently she has taken part in a faculty delegation working in partnership between Metro State and the University of Axum, Ethiopia. She has spearheaded several textbook drives and fundraisers for underserved schools.

The breakfast traditionally takes place on the Friday prior to the State Holiday celebration in order to provide an opportunity for members of the campus community to come together to celebrate and renew their commitment to peace and justice. For 20 years the event has honored leaders from the local community, faculty, staff and students that demonstrate community activism, advocacy and civic involvement.

For more information, please contact Paulette McIntosh, 303-556-2812,


About Metropolitan State College of Denver
With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. Starting in the fall of 2010, the College is offering master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, with plans to offer a master’s in social work in fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 67,500 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.