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Journalist Soledad O’Brien to headline 2019 Latino Cultural Dinner

Soledad O’Brien sitting

Soledad O’Brien

Award-winning journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist Soledad O’Brien will be the speaker for the University Housing Services Latino Cultural Dinner at Illinois State University at 5 p.m. Monday, November 4, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center.

Tickets will be available online from September 20–October 28 or until sold out.  Meal plan holders may use a meal swipe to make a reservation in exchange for one meal. Tickets will go on sale September 20 at the University Housing website. 

As the host of the Sunday morning syndicated political show, “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” she has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind the most important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America. While a contributing editor, reporting in-depth news magazine pieces for PBS NewsHour, she was a correspondent for “HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.  A prominent philanthropist, O’Brien is the founder of PowHERful, a foundation that mentors and funds college tuition and expenses for young women.

Earlier in her career, O’Brien co-anchored on “Weekend Today”, and contributed segments to the “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” In 2003, O’Brien joined CNN, where she anchored the morning news program for many years. O’Brien’s coverage of race issues won her two Emmy awards and she earned a third for her reporting on the 2012 presidential election. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina for CNN earned her and the network a George Foster Peabody Award. She also won the Peabody for her coverage of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill, and her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I. DuPont Award.

She is also the author of two books, her critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story and Latino in America.

O’Brien was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists and one of Newsweek magazine’s “10 People who Make America Great.” In 2013, O’Brien taught at Harvard University as a Distinguished Fellow and was appointed to the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Archives.  In 2015, O’Brien joined the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees.

In 2011 O’Brien and her husband Brad Raymond created the PowHERful Foundation, which helps young women get to and through college. This year, their conference series will visit 8 cities across the country.

The Illinois State University Speaker Series brings innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.

This program supports the Core Values of respect, diversity and inclusion, and scholarship and learning in the University’s strategic plan, Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State.