Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. to Discuss “The Education of Barack Obama: What Our First Black President is Learning about Race, Politics and the Media”

Oct. 11, 2011

Event: Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. will present "The Education of Barack Obama: What Our First Black President is Learning About Race, Politics and the Media" as part of the Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lectureship at The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism.

This lecture is free and open to the public, thanks to the Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lectureship and the School of Journalism. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

When: 4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27

Where: Texas Union Building, Quadrangle Room. Maps of the campus are available online.

Background: Pitts is an award-winning commentator, journalist and novelist. He was initially hired by the Miami Herald to critique music, but within a few years received his own column, in which he addressed issues including race, politics and culture. He is the author of six books, including "Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood."

He has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Pitts won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary "for his fresh, vibrant columns that spoke, with both passion and compassion, to ordinary people on often divisive issues."

Mary Alice Davis, who died in 2004 from ovarian cancer, is remembered as a remarkable writer who championed the role of journalism in a democracy. She wrote for the Daily Texan as an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin and later wrote for the Austin American-Statesman and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. The Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lectureship was created in 2005 by the Davis family and brings notable journalists to campus to discuss the role of journalism in society. Past lecturers include Maureen Dowd, Molly Ivins, Jim Lehrer and Michele Norris.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, KUT Radio, Moody College of Communication, (512) 475-8071; Hilary Turner, 512-471-8721.