'Black in America' host Soledad O'Brien will visit Purdue, her father's alma mater

February 9, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — When Soledad O'Brien brings her Black In America event on Tuesday (Feb. 10) to Purdue University, she will be visiting one of her father's alma maters.

Edward O'Brien, a professor emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University, was a graduate student at Purdue in the 1950s. He received his Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue in 1957.

Edward O'Brien has been a faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stony Brook University since 1961.

Sponsored by Purdue's Division of Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ Center and the Black Cultural Center, O'Brien is bringing her series "Soledad O'Brien Presents Black in America 2015 Tour," to Elliott Hall of Music. The 6 p.m. event, which is free and open to the public, will be her only stop in Indiana. Also sponsoring the event are the Brian Lamb School of Communication and the Purdue Student Union Board.

O'Brien is hosting conversations throughout February about race relations and policing in America. She plans to share her own professional and life experiences, and host a panel discussion. The tour is an extension of her "Black in America" series, which premiered on CNN in 2008 as a multipart series of documentaries covering issues, challenges and culture of African-Americans across the nation. The interactive event will feature an audio/visual presentation and will include audience participation.

Daymond John, an entrepreneur who since 2009 has appeared on the ABC television show "Shark Tank," was announced late last week as the final panelist, via Skype, for the event. John is founder and CEO of FUBU, or For Us By Us, a successful clothing line. He also formed Shark Branding, which provides companies with marketing insights that John has gained and used over the years.

Other panelists will include Venetria Patton, professor of English and African American Studies at Purdue and director of the African American Studies Research Center; Chuck D, leader and co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy and an author and producer; and Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author and commentator.

Additional sponsors of the Purdue event include the African American Studies and Research Center, Purdue Student Government and Purdue Housing and Food Services.

To follow the "Black in America" conversation on social media, look for the hashtags #IAmTheConversation and #PurdueTalks.

Other stops on the Black in America 2015 Tour include Bucknell University, the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Pennsylvania State University, Bloomsburg University, the University of Georgia, the University of Houston and Florida International University.  

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu 

Sources: G. Christine Taylor, 765-494-6969, taylorgc@purdue.edu 

Lowell Kane, 765-494-9712, kane14@purdue.edu

Renee Thomas, 765-494-3091, rathomas@purdue.edu  

Note to Journalists: Soledad O'Brien and other panelists will have a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 10) at Elliott Hall of Music. Please contact Greg McClure, 765-497-9611, gmcclure@purdue.edu, if you plan to attend. 

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