Barry McNamara  |  Published January 11, 2024

MLK Day Convocation Canceled

Rev. Charles Burton, a Monmouth grad, was scheduled speak at College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Jan. 15. A possible makeup day will be announced later this semester.

MLK DAY: Monmouth College will welcome back 1992 graduate the Rev. Charles Burton to speak at its Jan. 15 event. MLK DAY: Monmouth College will welcome back 1992 graduate the Rev. Charles Burton to speak at its Jan. 15 event.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of inclement weather, this event was canceled on Jan. 14. A possible makeup day will be announced later in the semester.


MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College will host a celebration of the life and impact of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 15.

The MLK Day event will feature inspirational music and a keynote address by the Rev. Charles Burton, a 1992 Monmouth graduate. Free and open to the public, the event will be held at 11 a.m. in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium.

A bi-vocational pastor, Burton serves the congregation of Unity Fellowship Church in Godfrey, Illinois, and is the chief human resources officer of the St. Louis Public Schools.

He is past president of the United Congregations of Metro East (UCM) and co-founder and past co-convener of Gamaliel of Illinois. Through these organizations, Burton partners with local congregations and unions to engage in grassroots community organizing aimed at empowering God’s people to receive His Kingdom rooted in His love.

Burton has helped lead the fight for the rights of those who Howard Thurman calls the “disinherited” in affordable housing, education, jobs, mental health, and criminal justice and immigration reform.

His academic credentials include a juris doctorate from Washington (Missouri) University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Monmouth, where he served as president of the Student Association. A member of the College’s M Club Hall of Fame, Burton was the NCAA Division III national champion in the 400-meter hurdles his senior year as the Fighting Scots track and field team placed seventh in the nation.

Burton is married to educator Renee Burton and the couple has three children. The Burtons’ values are faith, family, health and the pursuit of knowledge. Their commitment to education is undergirded by the belief in the John Dewey pronouncement: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

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