Waynesburg University celebrates MLK day with convocation ceremony

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b2ap3_thumbnail_1-19-Benito-Stallings.jpgWaynesburg University celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a ceremony in Roberts Chapel, Monday, January 18. 

Introduced by Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee, Benito Stallings, philanthropy advisor at Waynesburg University, served as the speaker. In his address, “Loving One Another as Christ Has Loved Us,” Stallings explored the questions of “What is love?,” “Why do we love?” and “How do we love?” 

Turning to Scripture to answer these questions, Stallings stated that the message of the gospel is a message of love. He focused his exploration of how to love on laying down one’s life “for the justice and well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters who may be different from us.” 

Stallings recounted King’s great example of love and service towards all individuals, both through the Civil Rights Movement and through his life in general. He also shared a few examples of the Civil Rights Movement with ties to Waynesburg University. 

“[Waynesburg] University’s faith in Christ inspires its students to learn about the world around them and leads them to seek to lay down their lives in service,” Stallings said, referencing the University’s mission of faith, learning and serving.

Through traveling on behalf of the University, Stallings has met an array of Waynesburg alumni, and has been touched by the stories he has heard from 1950’s and 1960’s graduates.

“I must have talked to a half dozen ministers who graduated from Waynesburg and decided to integrate their churches during a time when integration would get you harassed by the Ku Klux Klan,” Stallings said. “A retired history professor told me the story of how he helped integrate Florida State University in the early 60’s.”

Stallings also noted that the University’s tradition of loving one another goes back further than the 50’s and 60’s, citing Waynesburg’s involvement in the Underground Railroad and women’s suffrage. 

“To the student body, I say keep pursuing Christ and loving others in the way that you’re doing, and I firmly believe you’ll change the world. By God’s grace we’ll see senators, governors, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers coming from Waynesburg who will lay down their lives and challenge and inspire others to do the same.”

Stallings’ background includes community outreach, fundraising, budget management, organizing and motivating volunteers, preaching and teaching. Currently, he is seeking ordination into the priesthood within the Anglican Church.

Stallings is active within his church in Pittsburgh as a leadership figure for outreach and evangelism, primarily to college students and recent college graduates, and as a co-founder of the Southside Anglican Church Forum on Race Relations. 

Civically engaged in the city of Pittsburgh, Stallings was selected to become one of 50 young professionals to participate in the Leadership Development Initiative XXIII (LDI) last year. LDI is an extension of Leadership Pittsburgh, both of which are highly selective leadership training programs designed to improve the city of Pittsburgh.

Prior to joining Waynesburg University, Stallings was the associate director of development at Penn State University. Stallings earned his bachelor’s degree in communication arts and sciences with a minor in meteorology from Penn State University.

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Ashley Wise, Assistant Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu