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University Relations

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

Tickets Remain Available for MLK Freedom Scholarship Dinner

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 5, 2012) – Tickets now are available for the University of Central Missouri’s 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Scholarship Dinner, planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 in UCM’s Elliott Union ballroom, 511 S. Holden St.

Michele Norris

Michele Norris, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” will be the keynote speaker for the University of Central Missouri’s 2012 MLK Freedom Scholarship Dinner
Jan. 17, 2012

Featured keynote speaker for the annual dinner will be Michele Norris, co-host of National Public Radio’s longest-running national program, “All Things Considered.”

Proceeds from tickets sales and table sponsorships for the dinner support UCM’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Scholarships, which are awarded each spring to high school students from the metropolitan Kansas City area and the state of Missouri. Since the inception of the Freedom Scholarship program in 1998, 160 scholarships totaling more than $130,000 have been funded through dinner ticket sales and corporate and private sponsorships and presented to high school and UCM students. The 2011 class of recipients who received scholarships last spring, all of whom currently are enrolled at UCM, will be recognized at the dinner.

Individual tickets may be purchased at the gold level for $100, the silver level for $75, or the bronze level for $50 by contacting the UCM Office of Community Engagement, Elliott Union 224, at 660-543-4156, or at the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, 100 S. Holden, 660-747-3168. Tables of eight for the dinner are also available for purchase at the gold, silver and bronze levels. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. Corporate sponsorship opportunities available also are available.

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.

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.

The Freedom Scholarship Dinner is the highlight of UCM’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Additional events include the presentation of the Community Service Awards in conjunction with the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, planned for Jan. 11; the Ecumenical Worship Service on Jan. 15; the “A Day On, not a Day Off” community service day and the MLK Gospel Concert on Jan. 16; the Issues Forum on Jan. 19; and the community blood drive on Jan. 24-25.