Symone Sanders, a CNN political commentator who formerly was national press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, will appear as guest speaker at SUNY Oswego's 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Waterman Theatre of Tyler Hall. Doors open at 6 for this free, but ticketed, event. The free tickets are available at or can be reserved at the Marano Campus Center Box Office, 315-312-3073.

Symone Sanders' MLK celebration address and the subsequent Q&A also will be live-streamed to our Syracuse campus (Room 107) on Wednesday evening for those students, faculty and staff who may find the downtown Syracuse campus location more convenient.    

Symone Sanders rose to prominence at age 25 when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (no relation) named her his campaign's national press secretary -- the youngest on record -- during his run on the Democratic ticket. She appeared on Rolling Stone's list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election.

 She appeared on Rolling Stone's list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election. 

Presidential politics and Sanders first intersected when she was 16 years old. She introduced former president Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha, prompting him to say, "Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her" and later writing about her in his book "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World."

Also principal for the 360 Group LLC strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C., Sanders served as a spring 2018 Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School. She has been selected as a 2019 Fellow at USC Dornsife.

Sanders has been featured on NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, BET, TV One and CNN, and in the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and ESSENCE and ELLE magazines.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at SUNY Oswego began in 1989 when Tony Henderson, a former residence hall director, and Duane Amie Oudenhoven, former housing director, believed that even though the college was on winter break on the national Martin Luther King Day, the college should celebrate the civil rights leader in some way. Today, the celebration occurs after students return for spring semester.

Henderson also was an advisor to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Oswego, and he had the service organization host the program each year. The college's Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has organized the program in recent years.