Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell received accolades from Mars Hill University (MHU) and the city of Thomasville’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Action Committee in recent ceremonies.
At the MHU graduation ceremony on December 15, 2017 Blackwell was conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
“This university does not bestow many honorary doctorates,” MHU president Dan Lunsford said. “But few have made the impact on the life of so many North Carolina children and families as Dr. Michael Blackwell. So, it is with great honor that our Trustees confer this degree.”
Lunsford and Wayne Higgins, chair of the MHU board of trustees, presented the honorary doctorate to Blackwell, the longest-tenured leader of BCH. Blackwell marks his 35th anniversary of the organization this year. Blackwell told the audience that receiving the honorary doctorate “is truly one of the great honors of my life.
I do not take it lightly. I will do all I can to live up to the trust placed in me by the Board of Trustees, President Lunsford, and that great cloud of witnesses that have made Mars Hill one of the greatest Institutions of Higher Education on the planet.”
This is Blackwell’s third honorary doctorate.
In 2003, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek. Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs conferred Blackwell with an honorary doctorate on August 5, 2017.
Mars Hill University is a premier private, liberal arts institution founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located near Asheville.
On Saturday, January 13 the MLK Social Action Committee in Thomasville recognized two community members who they believed embody qualities of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and awarded them the 2018 MLK Community Service Award. Tina Royal, an adult probation/parole officer for nearly 25 years, and Dr. Michael C. Blackwell were selected to receive the group’s most prestigious award. The committee recognized Blackwell as a transformational leader, bold visionary, religious statesman, and powerful communicator.
According to Dr. George B. Jackson, founder and chairman of the MLK Social Action Committee, “Dr. Blackwell came up because of his initiative, inclusive of the entire Thomasville community. He has a particular point of view historically that is unique to our community service award winners.”
In 1968, Blackwell anchored the news desk in Raleigh for WRAL-TV. On April 4, the then-seminary student interrupted the evening’s programming to announce the news of Dr. King’s assassination. Blackwell made history as the second in the nation to announce the tragedy.
Blackwell also delivered the keynote speech at the close of this year’s MLK Day Celebration on January 15 at Mills Home Baptist Church. Recalling those who resisted oppression during the prophet Isaiah’s era in the Old Testament, Blackwell paralleled those who stand against oppression.
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