Fairfield University will host a campus-wide program honoring the life and achievements of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Jan. 17 to 27.

The initiative's major event, the MLK Convocation, will feature keynote speaker Herman Boone 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in the school's Quick Center for the Arts. Boone, an inspirational high school football coach, was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the Disney film, "Remember the Titans," according to a release from the university.

In 1971, Boone, an African-American, replaced coach Bill Yoast of the formerly all-white Hammond High School in Alexandria, Va., after the school was merged with two other city schools to become a newly-integrated T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., the release states. After putting their prejudices aside, Boone and Yoast worked together to unify the team whose former rivalry was only exacerbated by the strain between the black and white players, the release states.

The university program, offering the most events honoring King in the school's history, will also offer several activities for area school children, the release states.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, student contest winners from Bridgeport and Fairfield schools in grades K-8 will read their poems about peace at Poetry for Peace, at 6 p.m. in the university's Kelley Center Presentation Room. In addition, university athletes will participate with students from after-school programs in Bridgeport in a variety of sports in the campus RecPlex as part of the MLK Day of Service.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, the school will hold its annual MLK Vision Awards Dinner for Bridgeport students at 6 p.m. in the Barone Campus Center Oak Room. The evening activities will honor individuals at the university who exemplify King's virtues, followed by the announcement of the winners of the Connecticut Post-Fairfield University Essay Contest between schools in Bridgeport.

On Friday, Jan. 27, the King celebration will end with a Youth Leadership Workshop for middle-school students from Bridgeport and Fairfield 9 a.m. in the Barone Campus Center.

Other events will include a Friday Night Movie Series: "Remember the Titans" 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Gonzaga Auditorium; Students in Action Service Fair noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center; and The Peace Festival celebration 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 in the Barone Campus Center.

All of the events will be free and open to the public.

For information, call Ellen M. Umansky at 203-254-4000, ext. 2065.