University of Vermont

University Communications

Update: Award-Winning Journalist Michele Norris to Deliver MLK Celebration Keynote Address

Norris highlights UVM's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Education and Learning Week from Jan. 19-29

Michele Norris

Update: Due to a major blizzard along the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend, award-winning journalist Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, is unable to deliver the keynote address at today's Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration, Education & Learning Week. The event will still be held, however, with additional music and reflections about the importance of the day to our nation and local community. The program, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at Ira Allen Chapel, will include expanded remarks by members of the UVM community.

Award-winning journalist Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered and founder of The Race Card Project, will serve as the keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration, Education & Learning Week. Her lecture is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. at Ira Allen Chapel.

Free tickets are available to UVM students, faculty, and staff (one ticket with UVM ID) on Jan. 18 and will become available to the general public (one per person) on Jan. 22. They can be picked up at the Dudley H. Davis Center (first floor Hoffman Information Desk), the Registrar’s Office Student Service Center Kiosk (third floor) in Waterman and the College of Medicine Dean’s Office during business hours.

“Celebrating the life of Dr. King is a part of keeping his dream alive, and I am once again so excited about UVM’s annual MLK program that celebrates and honors Dr. King’s legacy with Michele Norris this year,” said Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant, event organizer and vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “Dr. King was a warrior of peace and a revolutionist whose sharp analysis of inequality and injustices help to bring about radical changes to make our society better.”

Norris, who co-hosted "All Things Considered" from 2002 to 2012, brings more than 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to UVM. She was an Emmy-award winning correspondent for ABC News from 1993 to 2002, appearing regularly on "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" with segments on education, inner city issues, drugs and poverty. She has also written for the Chicago Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

In 2010, Norris released her first book, The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, focusing on how America talks about race in the wake of the Barack Obama presidential election and on the racial legacy of Norris' own family. in 2011, Norris took a sabbatical from NPR while her husband worked for the campaign to re-elect President Obama, returning two years later as a guest host and special correspondent. She left NPR in December of 2015 to focus on The Race Card Project, an initiative aimed at fostering dialgoue about race by asking people to distill their thoughts and experiences around race into six-word mini-essays. More than 50,000 people from all over the world have sent postcards to the project, winner of the 2014 George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in electronic communications for “turning a pejorative phrase into a productive and far-reaching dialogue on a difficult topic.”

Norris has won numerous awards including the 2010 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for her co-hosting of "The York Project; Race and the 2008 Vote;" the 2006 Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for her overage of Hurricane Katrina; and Ebony magazine’s Outstanding Women in Marketing & Communications Award. She was also named 2009 Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists; and in 2009 was named on the “25 Most Influential Black Americans" by Essence Magazine.

President Tom Sullivan, the Department of Student Life, and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs are sponsoring Norris’ keynote address highlighting a series of events honoring Dr. King, starting Jan. 19 with an MLK Birthday Party in the Rosa Parks Room at the Davis Center. Another highlight includes a special showing of the award-winning docudrama Black Angels Over Tuskegee on Jan. 29, 2016 at 8 p.m. at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.

See a complete listing of events, times, locations and ticketing information.

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