Keepers of the Dream

( Photo / University Relations )

Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. and wife, Janice Hawkins, were awarded at the annual Martin Luther King Community Celebration.

Ora Nelson

Staff Writer

Troy University’s chancellor and first lady were named as one of the “Keepers of the Dream” from the City of Montgomery’s seventh annual Martin Luther King Community Celebration.

The award was created by Friends of the Theatre, a Montgomery-based nonprofit, to recognize people in the Montgomery community who “foster and inspire the future generations.”

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. and Janice Hawkins were one of four couples recognized for the 2021 celebration.

“This event will again honor representatives of the community who are ‘Keepers of the Dream’ and demonstrate a concerted effort to exhibit peace, unity and love,” Dr. Tommie Stewart, founder of the event and dean of Alabama State University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, said in a previous interview with ASU.

The Hawkinses attributed the award to the students and faculty of Troy University.

“We stood there as representatives of the university because it’s not about what we personally have done,” Janice Hawkins said. “It’s about what Troy University has done and continues to do.”

“One thing I’ve learned over these three-plus decades at Troy is that in leadership roles, generally, you often get the credit for things you know little about, just like you get the blame for a lot of things you know little about,” Dr. Hawkins said. “But in this case, we view it as not personal recognition but more as a recognition of the changing culture of Troy.”

Dr. Hawkins quoted Henry Ford, “A reputation is never been built on what you say you’re going to do. It’s what you do.”

“We talk about the dream of not only Dr. Martin Luther King, but really of those who preceded and influenced him – like Mahatma Gandhi had a huge influence,” Dr. Hawkins said. “You know, Nelson Mandela had a huge influence on the world, and this was reflected in the values of Dr. King’s good friend Rosa Parks.”

Dr. Hawkins worked with Parks to build the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery in the “very location where she was arrested.”

Both the Hawkins and Parks families were there when the museum opened in 2000.

“What I’ve always appreciated about all of those leaders was the philosophy of nonviolent change,” Dr. Hawkins said.

“Lasting change is cultural change, and cultural change is lasting.

“Being able to work daily with the faculty that’s committed to serving students, I think is a real privilege, and so, I hope that what we feel as individuals play out in the life of the institution.”

“People at Troy are moving to make a difference and make that impact,” Janice Hawkins concluded. “I see it every day.”

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