American track and field sprinter keynotes MLK tribute at WSU


Allyson Felix has won nine Olympic gold medals in track and field.

Photo courtesy of Wayne State University

Wayne State University welcomed American track and field sprinter Allyson Felix as the keynote speaker during its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 13.

The event kicked off at 10 a.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.

Having stepped on the world stage in 2004 as a passionate 18-year-old in her first Olympic Games, Felix has redefined athletics as she continues to cement her iconic status on and off the track. She has amassed an incredible 13 global titles, 10 United States Championships, nine Olympic medals and a world record. Her accomplishments solidify her as one of the greatest female athletes the world has seen, and she has garnered attention from the top media publications in the world. Features have included Vogue, Glamour, Essence, Self, O Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Elle.

Felix has proven herself a force on the track, but still made time to graduate with an elementary education degree from the University of Southern California. She also has a heart for her community and serves as an ambassador for Right to Play and Play Works, as well as being a member of The President's Council on Fitness, Sport and Nutrition. Felix has recently turned her attention to helping former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha provide Los Angeles area teens with tools to prepare themselves for higher education through the ACTS College Summit.

"We are delighted to have Allyson as this year's keynote speaker," said Victor Green, WSU's director of community relations. "Her commitment to her sport and the community at large is something to be commended."

In addition to the keynote address, the tribute included a presentation of the Dr. Arthur L. Johnson Community Leadership Awards, which honor an individual and an organization whose contributions positively affect the community.

This year's recipients were Cindy Eggleton, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Detroit, and Covenant House, one of the largest privately funded childcare agencies in the U.S. that provides services to homeless and runaway youth.

Net proceeds support Adopt-A-Classroom, a nationally recognized organization that invites the community into classrooms to increase opportunities for student success by empowering teachers with partnerships and funds to purchase much-needed supplies. This year's Adopt-A-Classroom recipient is Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Detroit. In partnership with sponsors, Wayne State has adopted 40 classrooms and donated more than $40,000 to support the organization's local giving efforts.

The 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Luncheon was sponsored by DTE Energy, Pepsi, Mercedes Benz Financial, Quicken Loans, Walker-Miller Energy Services LLC, AARP Michigan, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, and Boulevard and Trumbull Towing.

Published: Mon, Jan 16, 2017