Kentucky State University is celebrating the first observance of Atwood Day in remembrance of the late Rufus B. Atwood, the University’s ninth and longest-serving president, Tuesday, March 27. 

This year’s observance begins with an assembly at 11 a.m. in the Little Theatre in David H. Bradford Hall featuring Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal Director Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. in conversation with Kentucky State University Foundation Director Donald W. Lyons Sr. and Atwood biographer Dr. Gerald L. Smith, author of A Black Educator in the Segregated South: Kentucky’s Rufus B. Atwood.

“In celebration of all that President Atwood was, and all that Kentucky State continues to be, Atwood Day is an opportunity for the campus community to collectively remember his legacy and intentionally honor the ways in which his ideals remain the standard for us all,” deGregory said.

Immediately following the assembly, attendees will travel by vehicle procession at noon to Atwood’s grave in the Frankfort Cemetery, located at 215 E. Main Street, for a graveside commemoration. Free transportation, located outside Bradford Hall immediately following the assembly, is available for students who wish to attend the graveside commemoration. The commemoration will include the presentation of colors, remarks by Kentucky State University President M. Christopher Brown II, presentations by the Kentucky State Gospel Ensemble and the Beta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the laying of the K wreath with members of Atwood’s family, who are special guests.

The campus will enjoy a cookout on the courtyard at 1 p.m., including pawpaw cake and ice cream courtesy of the College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems. Music will be provided by DJ Legit.

“Like the founding of the Atwood Institute, the celebration of Atwood Day is an effort to connect the best of our past with the brightness of our future,” said President Brown, founder of the Atwood Institute. 

To be celebrated during the month of March—which marks the date of his birth, March 15, 1897, as well as that of his death, March 18, 1983—Atwood Day was created to memorialize and celebrate the contributions of Rufus B. Atwood who, during his 33-year tenure as president, secured the college’s accreditation, as well as important campus improvements for the Commonwealth’s only publicly-funded black college.

Atwood Day is an initiative of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal. All events are free and open to the public.

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