Hill Harper delivers Martin Luther King Jr. Week keynote address at North Central College

Jan 24, 2013

Actor/author Hill Harper delivered an impassioned Martin Luther King Jr. Week keynote address Jan. 21 in North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall.

Harper spoke about “Being an Active Architect of Your Own Life” and used the analogy of an architect who designs a building to talk about how people could do more to plan their own lives.

“You should write down what you want to do,” Harper said. “You wouldn’t let an architect build you a house without showing you a plan. You need to sketch out how you’re going to build your life.”

Harper said education is key to a strong foundation and encouraged the audience of North Central College students and community members to pursue their dreams and ambitions. People who are passionate about what they do can achieve greatness and positively impact others, he said.

“Most people aren’t following their heart,” he said.

More than once Harper referenced the Robert Kennedy quote, “The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society.”

Harper initially was scheduled to speak later that evening, but President Barack Obama asked him to return to Washington to attend a post-inauguration event. Harper recounted the story of how he and Obama met on a basketball court when both were students at Harvard Law School.

Harper stars in the CBS drama “CSI: NY” and is author of four New York Times bestsellers. He holds degrees from Brown University, Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2010, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and his bestselling book, “The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place,” chronicles the cancer diagnosis and his journey to health.

Harper was introduced by Student Governing Association President Derek Sanderson and welcomed by President Dr. Troy D. Hammond.

“North Central is a comprehensive liberal arts college that prepares students to be broad thinkers, to think laterally and creatively, to contribute productively to society, and to adapt, grow and learn over a lifetime,” Hammond said. “On days like today—when our community is reminded of society’s struggles and the heroes who fought for justice —we realize we can have an impact.”