Actor and author Hill Harper will serve as the keynote speaker for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo’s 16th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Harper will speak at the event’s annual community banquet Jan. 23 and at a student convocation Jan. 24.

Harper is an award-winning actor (in his third season as Dr. Marcus Andrews in ABC’s popular series “The Good Doctor”), best-selling author (including “Letters to a Young Brother”), and philanthropist (founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a non-profit committed to providing underserved youth a path to empowerment and educational excellence).

His academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University; a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School; and a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” as the rest of the title says, was written to offer “encouragement, hope, and healing for inmates and their loved ones.” Harper’s best-selling series began with the publication of “Letters to a Young Brother,” a book that judges around the country were soon assigning as required reading to juveniles accused of crimes.

Harper’s latest book, “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” will form the basis of his keynote address at the community banquet that will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Bel Air Events, 3014 S. Webster St., in Kokomo.

His talk in January will follow the theatrical release later this month of “Just Mercy,” an eagerly anticipated movie starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx that explores questions of racism and injustice in the American judicial and penal systems.

Tickets are now on sale at $50 for the dinner and presentation; reservations can be made by going to ivytech.edu/doingthedream or calling 765-252-5500.

The community dinner will be followed on Jan. 24 by a free student convocation where Harper will share his student-targeted presentation titled “The Blueprint: Being an Active Architect of Your Own Life.”

He begins with the belief that we all have the potential to create the life we desire, comparing an individual’s ability to build his or her own life to an architect’s design skills.

As part of the conversation, Harper will talk about the importance of including a diverse group of educators, mentors, and friends to create a successful blueprint for life and how this commitment to diversity translates into broader efforts to build coalitions like those forged by Dr. King to address issues of civil rights and justice.

The free student convocation, open to area high school students and college students from around the state, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Kokomo Event & Conference Center, 1500 N. Reed Road (Ind. 931). To get more information about participating in the student convocation, contact Allison Toren, program chair of General Studies and a lead on the “Doing the Dream” activities, at 765-252-5518 or atoren@ivytech.edu.

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