University Relations and Communications

Annual Bell-ringing Ceremony Kicks off Power of One Week, Events Continue Tuesday

January 21, 2014


bellringers on the MSUB university campus Messages of equality, diversity, nonviolence and love rang during a morning ceremony at Montana State University Billings.


Community members gathered around the observance bell Monday at the university’s Peak to Plains to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and his messages of civil rights.


“In 1963, I was witness to history when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set aside his prepared remarks on a sweltering August day to share with us his dream, a dream which we all share,” guest speaker Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley said to a crowd of about 100 during the ceremony’s opening remarks just before 10 a.m.


“At the time, I was just one in a sea of over 200,000 gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to rally for civil rights and voting legislation,” he said.


Durley witnessed history again today—50 years later—as Billings community members gathered to celebrate our nation’s progress and once again be captivated by Dr. King’s dream.


Dr. Durley delivering his speechThe event marked the kickoff to a weeklong series of events organized by MSU Billings. The annual event is one of reflection and action that includes special presentations, art, expression and service to honor the work and legacy of the famous civil rights leader.


“This is a wonderful way for community members to join together to encourage acceptance in our community,” Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy said.


MSU Billings Chancellor Rolf Groseth said the event is an important one on campus to help celebrate equality and diversity, emphasizing that change starts with just one.


The celebration continues Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. in the SUB atrium where the potter’s guild will be making pottery in support of Angela’s Piazza, a local nonprofit women’s support center.


Later in the day, the Diversity Initiative Group will discuss MLK’s historical significance during Global Connections—a group comprised of domestic and international students. The event will take place at 12:15 p.m. in the College of Business, room 163. 


observers hold hands during the bellringing ceremonyAt 6 p.m. the film “Remember the Titans” will be screened in Petro Theatre followed by the week’s headline speaker coach Herman Boone—the inspiration behind the film.

Join the MSU Billings community in paying homage to the lessons of history and honoring the power of an individual to make a difference. For a complete listing of events, visit


PHOTOS ABOVE: 1) bellringers on the MSUB university campus; 2) Dr. Gerald Durley; 3) observers of the bellringing ceremony hold hands.