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Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011

SPEA alumnus Tavis Smiley to present 'America I AM: The Multimedia Experience' at Indiana University

Oct. 24, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Tavis Smiley, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, will present "America I AM: The Multimedia Experience" at 6 p.m., Nov. 3, at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union. The event, which is presented by High Quality Speakers Bureau and co-sponsored by the IU Kelley School of Business and SPEA, is free and open to the public.

Inspired by Smiley's award-winning, touring museum exhibit, "America I AM: The African American Imprint," this multimedia presentation is a riveting 45-minute visual and oratorical keynote that peers into the heart of American culture through the nearly 500-year-old lens of African-American history. From the "Door of No Return" to the election of President Barack Obama, Smiley will speak on the economic, sociopolitical, spiritual and cultural imprints of African-Americans on the United States and how all ethnic groups have been impacted by democracy.

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.

"I'm delighted to be returning home to Indiana and to my alma mater, Indiana University, to premiere 'America I AM: The Multimedia Experience,'" Smiley said. "This presentation is filled with inspirational, witty, emotional, and empowering beats as it touches on monumental and watershed moments in the history of our great nation."

Named by Time magazine as one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People" in 2009, Smiley is the host of the television talk 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.

The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs 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. For more information, see

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

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 Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, and 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.

To arrange advance phone interviews, contact Leshelle Sargent, The Smiley Group Inc., at or (212) 560-8287.