News

March 7, 2008

Juan Williams to Speak at 173rd Commencement

One of America’s leading journalists, he is senior correspondent on NPR’s Morning Edition and panelist on Fox News Sunday

Juan Williams, one of America’s leading journalists, will be the principal speaker at Lafayette’s 173rd Commencement on Saturday, May 24, and will receive an honorary degree.

Information for parents on Commencement
A senior correspondent on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program, Williams also is a contributing political analyst for the Fox News Channel and a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday. He is also the author of six books.

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Lafayette president Daniel H. Weiss said, “I am very pleased that Juan Williams will address our graduates and parents at Commencement. He has enriched the public discourse in our country immensely as a journalist and as an author and is one of the most knowledgeable and insightful commentators we have today.”

From 2000-01, Williams hosted NPR’s national call-in show Talk of the Nation, bringing the program to cities and towns across America for monthly radio “town hall” meetings before live audiences. The meetings were a part of the year-long NPR series The Changing Face of America, which focused on how Americans are dealing with rapid changes in society and culture as the United States enters the 21st century.

During a 21-year career at The Washington Post, Williams served as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, and White House reporter. He has won an Emmy award for TV documentary writing and won widespread critical acclaim for a series of documentaries including Politics: The New Black Power, which debuted on PBS in 1990.

Williams is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, published in 1998 and released in paperback in 2000.

His nonfiction bestseller Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 was the companion volume to the critically acclaimed 14-hour PBS television series that premiered in 1987, and another book, This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience, was the basis for a six-part PBS documentary that aired in 2003.

In 2004, Williams became involved with the Voices of Civil Rights project, a joint effort of AARP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the Library of Congress. He led a veteran team of reporters and editors in the production of My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience, a book presenting the eyewitness accounts of some 50 activists in the Civil Rights movement. In 2004 he also published I’ll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

In his most recent book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It (2006), Williams makes the case that “while there is still racism, it is way past time for black Americans to open their eyes to the ‘culture of failure’ that exists within their community,” says the publisher, Crown.

Articles by Williams have appeared in Newsweek, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, and The New Republic, among other magazines. He has also appeared on many television programs, including Nightline, Washington Week in Review, Oprah, CNN’s Crossfire (where he frequently served as co-host), and Capitol Gang Sunday.

Williams received a B.A. in philosophy from Haverford College in 1976. He is a member of the board of directors of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, Aspen Institute of Communications and Society Program, and Washington Journalism Center.

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