LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Siena College announced Monday it has changed the date of its annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture on Race and Nonviolent Social Change, due to the current spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Guest speaker Martin Luther King III was originally scheduled to speak Thursday January 27, but the campus community will now have to wait to hear his message until Tuesday, May 3.

In addition to his lecture on “Strengthening the Bonds of Racial Justice,” King will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by the College at the event. The time and campus location of the newly-rescheduled lecture will be released in the spring.

“Given the current spike in COVID cases, we felt it was in the best interest of the health and safety of our campus community and the general public to move the date of this important event to later in the year,” said Siena President Chris Gibson, Ph.D.  “We look forward to welcoming Martin Luther King III to our campus in May.”

King is the third member of his family to speak at Siena, following his mother, Coretta Scott King’s address in 1986 and his sister, Bernice King’s speech in 2002. Coretta Scott King was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree upon deliverance of her message as well.

Siena made the strategic decision last summer to begin its Spring Semester classes a week later than usual, to avoid a post-holiday COVID spike on campus. In-person classes are scheduled to begin January 24.