Columnist, author Leonard Pitts to speak at Wake Forest's Fall Convocation
September 19, 2006
Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize winner, syndicated columnist and author, will deliver Wake Forest University’s Fall Convocation address Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. in the university’s Wait Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
Pitts’ visit is funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation and is part of the university’s new “Voices of Our Time” guest speaker series, which brings renowned experts to campus to discuss timely issues.
Since 1994, Pitts has written a nationally-syndicated column about pop culture, social issues and family life. The column is distributed by Tribune Media Services. Pitts is also the author of “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood.”
At the convocation, Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch will honor two alumni with the Marcellus E. Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award. The $20,000 award is given annually to one primary school teacher and one secondary school teacher who graduated from Wake Forest.
The university will also present the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service to two faculty members.
Pitts writes a twice weekly column read by millions of newspaper readers across the country. He is recognized as a writer who connects with his audience on a personal level. This connection was demonstrated in the response to his column about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, “We’ll Go Forward From This Moment.” The column generated more than 30,000 e-mails and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by Regis Philbin and quoted by former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt as part of the Democratic Party’s weekly radio address.
Pitts has been writing professionally since 1976 when, as an 18-year-old college student, he began producing freelance reviews and profiles for SOUL, a national black entertainment tabloid. Two years later, he became editor of the publication. Since then, Pitts’ work has appeared in periodicals such as Musician, Spin, TV Guide, Reader’s Digest and Parenting.
In 2004, Pitts received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He has been recognized by the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, among others.