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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


NPR's Michele Norris to Speak at 2012 Freedom Scholarship Dinner

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 15, 2011) – Michele Norris, co-host of National Public Radio’s longest-running national program, “All Things Considered,” will be the keynote speaker for the University of Central Missouri’s annual Freedom Scholarship dinner,  planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. The event is the highlight of the university’s 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

Michele Norris
Michele Norris

Norris, an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience, has co-hosted “All Things Considered” with Robert Siegel and Melissa Block since 2002. In September 2010 she released her first book, “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir,” which focuses on how America talks about race in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidential election and explores her own family's racial legacy.

Prior to joining NPR, Norris was a correspondent for ABC News from 1993 to 2002. As a contributing correspondent for the “Closer Look” segments on “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings,” Norris reported extensively on education, inner city issues, the nation's drug problem, and poverty.

Norris also has reported for the “Washington Post,” “Chicago Tribune” and “Los Angeles Times.” Her Washington Post series about a six-year-old who lived in a crack house was reprinted in the book “Ourselves Among Others,” along with essays by Václav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Annie Dillard, and Gabriel García Márquez.

A four-time Pulitzer Prize entrant, Norris has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2010 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for her and co-host Steve Inskeep’s program, “The York Project: Race and the 2008 Vote”; the 2009 Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists; the National Association of Black Journalists' 2006 Salute to Excellence Award for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina; the University of Minnesota's Outstanding Achievement Award; and the 1990 Livingston Award.

In 2007, she was honored with “Ebony” magazine’s eighth annual Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications Award, and in 2009 was named one of “Essence” magazine’s 25 Most Influential Black Americans. Norris also earned both an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to ABC News' coverage of 9/11. She is on the judging committee for both the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Livingston Awards. Norris is also a frequent guest on “The Chris Matthews Show” on NBC News.

Norris is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a degree in journalism. She lives in Washington, D.C. and is married to Broderick Johnson. She has two young children and a stepson who attends college in California.

Tickets for the dinner will be available after Dec. 1 by contacting the UCM Office of Community Engagement at 660-543-4156, or the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, 100 S. Holden, 660-747-3168. Tickets may be purchased at the Bronze Level for $50, Silver Level for $75, or the Gold Level at $100. Table sponsorships also are available. Proceeds from the event fund the Freedom Scholarships presented annually to high school and UCM students. During the past 14 years, 160 students have received Freedom Scholarships to attend UCM.