Award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien will the featured keynote speaker Wednesday, March 26 during the Honors Convocation celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Honors Program at Tennessee State University. The convocation is part of the Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and will take place in Kean Hall located in the Floyd Payne Campus Center beginning at 1 p.m. The convocation is free and open to the public.
O’Brien will also be the featured speaker at the Honors Program anniversary luncheon honoring Dr. McDonald Williams, the first Director of the Honors Program earlier in the day. The luncheon is $50 per person and begins at 11 a.m. in the Gentry Complex.
Soledad O’Brien joined Al Jazeera America in 2013 as part of a deal with her new production company, Starfish Media Group. She will contribute short-form segments as Special Correspondent to Al Jazeera America’s primetime current affairs magazine program “America Tonight,” and Starfish will produce hour-long documentary specials. O’Brien most recently served as an anchor and special correspondent for CNN. She joined CNN in 2003 and was the co-anchor of CNN’s flagship morning program, “American Morning,” and then the anchor of “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”
O’Brien distinguished herself at CNN by reporting from the scene of such stories as the London terrorism attacks in 2005, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In December 2004, O’Brien was among a handful of CNN anchors sent to Thailand to cover the disaster and aftermath of the tsunami. O’Brien also produced and hosted the widely acclaimed “In America” documentary series, including “Black in America” and “Latino in America.”
Soledad went to CNN from NBC News where she had anchored the network’s Weekend Today starting in July 1999. Prior to that, she had anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program The Site and the MSNBC weekend morning show. O’Brien had originally joined NBC News in 1991 and was based in New York as a field producer for Nightly News and Today.
In 2011, O’Brien won her first Emmy Award for “Crisis in Haiti” (on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360) in the category of Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story – Long Form. She was also a member of the teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for coverage of the British Petroleum oil spill and of Katrina, and an Alfred I. du Pont Award for its reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami.
In 2010, the National Association of Black Journalists named O’Brien its Journalist of the Year, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards recognized her with the RTDNA/UNITY award for Latino in America. She received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
O’Brien was awarded the NAACP President’s Award in 2007 in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence. For more information on the anniversary luncheon or Honors Convocation, contact the Honors Program at (615) 963-5731.