Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University, will be the keynote speaker for the fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at Virginia Tech.

Editor's note: The time for West's keynote address has been changed to 6 p.m.; doors will open at 5:15 p.m.

West will be on campus Monday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in Burruss Hall auditorium as part of the university's week-long commemoration of the legacy of King.

"One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood," according to West's website. Through his writing, speaking, and teaching he combines the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz.

West received national recognition in 1993 with his bestselling book, Race Matters, an analysis of racism in American democracy, which has sold more than half-a-million copies, to date. West, author of 19 books and 13 texts, has received more than 20 honorary degrees.

West was influential in the development of the storyline for the popular "Matrix" movie trilogy and played a recurring role in the final two films.

Tickets, which will be available Nov. 30, are required to attend this free, public event. For more information, visit the University Unions and Student Activities website, or the ticket office on the first floor of Squires Student Center between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This event is sponsored by the Office for Equity and Inclusion and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.