Civil rights activist Andrew Young speaking at Auburn University’s annual MLK breakfast in January

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Civil rights activist Andrew Young, former confidant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be the keynote speaker for Auburn University's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast. The event is set for Jan. 15 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

Young was elected to Congress in 1972 to represent Georgia's 5th district, becoming the first African American elected from the South since Reconstruction. He was re-elected in 1974 and 1976. In 1977, Young became the first African American to be appointed United States ambassador to the United Nations. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Young held the position until August 1979. Two years later, Young sought election as the mayor of Atlanta. He won and was re-elected in 1985. During his tenure as mayor, Young brought jobs and $70 billion in private investments to the city. He was also instrumental in bringing the Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta in 1996.

He has since served on many organizations and, in 2003, established the Andrew J. Young Foundation. The foundation embodies Young's philosophy of creative nonviolence and establishes a model and legacy of effective servant leadership for current and future leaders in Atlanta, America and the world. Young participates in frequent speaking engagements.

He's been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NAACP's Springarn Medal, the Olympic Order and France's Legion d'honneur, the nation's greatest honor, as well as more than 100 honorary degrees. Young was recognized in 2011 for his contributions to American life and history with a Lifetime Emmy Award and the placement of his portrait on permanent exhibit of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

The scholarship breakfast commemorates the life and work of King and his ideals for peace and unity. Sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, the Office of University Outreach and the East Alabama chapter of the National Forum for Black Administrators, the event is open to the public. Tickets for the event can be purchased online.

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