Seton Hall University

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - A Message From President Nyre  

"Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically." — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Purpose of Education, 1947

Dear Members of the Seton Hall Community,

In this essay, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. succinctly captured the primary benefit of an educated society. He understood that a nation cannot advance unless its citizens have the intellectual tools to effectively address pressing issues. He also realized how challenging it is for people to disregard personal biases.

“To think incisively and to think for oneself is very difficult,” he wrote. “We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices and propaganda.”

Our nation has grown increasingly polarized due to the very human frailties Dr. King described in 1947. As the world honors him today among history’s greatest humanitarians, we would do well to examine how our personal biases influence how we think, act and treat others.

Dr. King did not envision a society where no one disagreed. Rather, he worked to create a world in which disagreements were addressed through intellectual and ethical engagement. He wrote, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of education.”

To truly honor his legacy, we must do our part to exemplify his faith in education and high character, and remind ourselves that those with whom we disagree are our brothers and sisters — designed and loved by God.

I believe Seton Hall is the ideal place to explore these ideas, to think critically about society’s most pressing issues, to engage across our differences as we elevate our Great Minds, and to turn Dr. King’s words into positive actions for the betterment of us all.

Let this be our tribute to him today and throughout the year.


Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D.

Categories: Arts and Culture , Faith and Service , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Office of the President
  • (973) 761-9620