Who We Are: A Liaison Between EMU and Government

The Office of Government and Community Relations serves as the primary liaison between Eastern Michigan University and all levels of government, as well as the local and regional community.

Securing the resources that EMU requires to remain a leading public, comprehensive university requires the active support of our faculty, students, staff and alumni. From this website, you can remain up-to-date on the activities of our office and learn how you can help EMU secure the resources it needs to remain a world-class university.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about our office, or if you would like to become more involved in our work.



MLK Awards

The Office of Government Relations is pleased to announce that we have opened the nominations for the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals from within the University and the surround community who exemplify the values and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award will be presented to the recipient(s) at the Martin Luther King, Jr. President's Luncheon on Monday, January 20, 2020.

The criteria for the selection of recipient(s) of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award include:

  • A faculty or staff member within the University community or an individual of the broader community.
  • A person who exemplifies the values and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., specifically in the areas of advocacy, leadership and service.
  • A person who has made a significant contribution to the University and/or broader community.
  • Must be able to attend the Luncheon to accept the award

Completed nomination materials must include an award application, a letter of nomination, at least two letters of support, and the resume/CV of the nominee. All materials must be received by Thursday, November 14, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. to the EMU Office of Government Relations (207 Welch Hall, Ypsilanti, MI 48197) or via e-mail at government.community@emich.edu.

Only completed nominations will be considered. Late nominations will not be accepted. For more details about the Humanitarian Award or any of the other awards that will be presented during EMU's MLK Celebration, please see the official EMU MLK website at https://www.emich.edu/mlk/index.php.


The President's 34th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon will be on Monday, January 20, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. Following the luncheon each year is a keynote address that takes place at 2:00 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. We are very excited to announce that this year's keynote speaker will be Terrence J. Roberts, Ph.D., one of the "Little Rock Nine" who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Dr. Roberts was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in response to his efforts against injustice, following the 1955 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case to integrate schools. We look forward to acknowledging and celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the luncheon. This year's theme-- "Rise Up Against Injustice" --underscores the need to address social injustices in an honest and though-provoking way. This year's luncheon will highlight civic engagement, and raise funds to support student scholarships as well as diversity, equity and inclusion programming at EMU. For more information about the President's Luncheon, please see the official EMU MLK website at https://www.emich.edu/mlk/index.php.  

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist visits EMURegent Mike Hawks, Student Nick Jordan, Student Joseph Williamson, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Graduate Assistant Chartice Hobbs, Swoope, and Regent Alexander Simpson

On October 4, 2019, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, of the State of Michigan, got a vivid illustration of both the benefits and the potential of how capital outlay funding helps Eastern Michigan University educate students in high-demand career fields. Gilchrist enjoyed a quick tour of newly renovated Strong Hall and Roosevelt Hall, a former secondary school building that now houses programs in the College of Engineering and Technology (CET).


From left to right: EMU Regent Mike Hawks, Student Nick Jordan, Student Joseph Williamson, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Graduate Assistant Chartice Hobbs, Swoop, and EMU Regent Alexander Simpson

EMU Choir in Rotunda

The EMU Choir poses after their performance in the Capitol's Rotunda during the 2019 EMU Day in Lansing Luncheon.

2019 EMU Day in Lansing

On March 19, 2019, the Government Relations Office hosted EMU Day in Lansing, where groups of EMU Faculty, staff, students, and alumni met with state legislators regarding pressing issues of the state and EMU. This year, 57 meetings took place with state legislators and their staffs, and 58 Eastern Michigan students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteered for the day.

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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell gives speech after receiving the 2019 MLK Humanitarian Award from Eastern Michigan University.


MLK 2019 Celebration - President's Luncheon and Humanitarian Award

On Monday, January 21, 2019 EMU students, faculty, staff, members from our local community, and state legislators came together for the annual MLK President's Luncheon at the Student Center. This year's keynote address was delivered by CNN political commentator Keith Boykin who spoke briefly at the luncheon, with a longer address following the event. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell was also present at this year's luncheon, as she was recognized for EMU's 2019 MLK Humanitarian Award. Congresswoman Dingell represents the 12th district of Michigan in the United States House of Representatives, which includes the cities of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, and much of southern Wayne County. As a distinguished public servant and unwavering advocate for families, women and children, she has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the State of Michigan and its citizens. EMU was proud to honor Congresswoman Dingell as this year's MLK Humanitarian Award winner.



MLK 2018 Humanitarian Award

2018 MLK Humanitarian Award Winners

Rep. Ronnie Peterson, EMU President James Smith, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton

On Monday, January 15th, EMU hosted its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. President's Luncheon. At this event, EMU recognized and awarded two recipients for the MLK Humanitarian Award. These two active members of our community exemplify the values and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and make significant contributions to both the University and the community.

The awards were given to Representative Ronnie D. Peterson and Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton, as pictured with President Smith.

Click here to view a list of all the previous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award winners.