Campus & Community

Palm Beach State to honor four at 16th annual King celebration Jan. 15

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Honorees are from top left: Dr. Delsa Bush, David Cruz, Denny Abbott and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. Click the image to learn more about them.

Palm Beach State College will honor an organization and three individuals for their leadership and service during the 16th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast Jan. 15.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award recipients are: Dr. Delsa Bush, a PBSC alumna and retired West Palm Beach police chief; PBSC student David Cruz, who serves as vice president of the Student Government Association on the Palm Beach Gardens campus; Denny Abbott, author of “They Had No Voice; My Fight for Alabama’s Forgotten Children,” and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, a statewide organization of immigrant rights organizations with offices in Miami, Tampa and Palm Beach. The honorees were selected by a committee after a community-wide nomination process.

The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7:30 a.m. with complimentary breakfast in the MLK Jr. Plaza on the Lake Worth campus. The program begins at 8:15 a.m. in the Duncan Theatre. The event will be live streamed to Palm Beach State’s campuses in Belle Glade, Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton.

Dr. Lillie McCain, a retired psychology professor from Mott Community College in Flint, Mich.,Dr.McCain--150X150 will be the keynote speaker. She grew up in Teoc, Miss. during the civil rights movement, witnessing the activism of her father, a World War II veteran and descendant of slaves owned by the ancestors of U.S. Sen. John McCain. As a teenager, she also became involved in the civil rights movement. At 14 years old she was jailed for a week for her participation in a march in Jackson, Miss. led by Stokely Carmichael, a key activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1969, she became one of the first two African-American students to graduate from J.Z. George, a previously all-white high school in North Carrollton.

After high school she continued her education earning a bachelor’s degree from Tougaloo College, master’s degrees from Kansas State College and American Theological University and a Ph.D. from Wayne State University in Michigan. She worked at Mott Community College for nearly 40 years before retiring last June and relocating to South Carolina. While at MCC, the Army veteran also was a longtime co-facilitator for Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Program. As a certified faculty member for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, she has conducted workshops on leadership development, multiculturalism, diversity in the workplace, and other topics.

Visit to learn more about the event, the honorees and the keynote speaker.

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