Indiana University

News Release

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

IU SPEA alumnus Tavis Smiley to speak about leadership, business and recent book Nov. 3

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For media: Tavis Smiley will meet with the media for interviews at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Indiana Memorial Union Solarium. To participate, please contact Debbie O'Leary at or 812-327-0018. NOTICE: Due to technical difficulties, Tavis Smiley is unable to present "America I AM: The Multimedia Experience."

Nov. 2, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs alumnus Tavis Smiley will discuss leadership, business, and his latest book, FAIL UP: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure, on Thursday (Nov. 3) at 6 p.m. in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union at IU Bloomington.

In this presentation, Smiley will recount instances throughout his career of perceived "failures" that were, in fact, "lessons" that shaped the principles and practices he employs today. Audience members will find a kinship in Smiley's humanness that inspires, informs, and reminds us of our inherent ability to achieve and grow in spite of life's inevitable setbacks.

The event, which is presented by High Quality Speakers Bureau and co-sponsored by the IU Kelley School of Business and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is free and open to the public. A video about FAIL UP can be viewed at

"I'm delighted to be returning home to Indiana and to my alma mater Indiana University to discuss leadership and my most recent book. FAIL UP pulls from the challenges and successes of many others including my own," Smiley said. "It weaves together a powerful, crucial message that challenges people to become leaders, i.e., agents of change in their own lives -- by daring to change their minds."

In addition to his presentation, Smiley will meet with African-American student leaders from Kelley and SPEA as well as students who received Smiley Scholarships, a program designed to encourage young leaders capable of effecting positive social change.

Named by Time magazine as one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People" in 2009, Smiley is the host of the television show "Tavis Smiley" on PBS and radio's "The Tavis Smiley Show," distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). In 2007, he made television history as moderator and executive producer of the All-American Presidential Forums on PBS, the first Democratic and Republican presidential debates broadcast live in prime time with a panel made up of journalists of color. He recently joined forces with Princeton University professor Cornel West for their own radio talk show, "Smiley & West."

He is the author of 15 books including the best-selling What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America and his latest, Accountable: Making America As Good As Its Promise, which examines hard-hitting truths facing the United States and addresses how political leaders, corporations and everyday Americans can enforce accountability and effect change.

In May 2007, Smiley served as the featured speaker for commencement at IU Bloomington and also received The President's Medal for Excellence. The same year, he received the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the school's highest honor.

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2009 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Six of its specialty programs are ranked in the top 10 listings. SPEA's doctoral programs in public affairs and public policy are ranked by the National Academy of Science as the best in the country.

About the Kelley School of Business

For nearly 90 years -- first in Bloomington and later in Indianapolis, online, and for top companies -- IU's Kelley School of Business has prepared students to lead organizations, start companies, develop new products and services, and shape business knowledge and policy. Its programs are consistently ranked among the best in the nation, its faculty members are internationally recognized for their teaching and thought leadership, and businesses worldwide hire its highly qualified graduates. For more information, go to

About High Quality Speakers Bureau

HQSB brings unique capabilities in lecture representation, special events, and entertainment. HQSB helps organizations create powerful meeting experiences and messages using high-quality talent, entertainment and creative media. HQSB speakers are major thought leaders, celebrated personalities, and top experts on the most important contemporary issues. Speakers such as Dr. Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. each have their own unique style, presence, and perspective. They have been used with proven results by organizations, associations, public forums, educational institutions, and corporations. HQSB provides an enormous intellectual base from which to draw expertise, informed commentary, and even enjoyable entertainment.

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