Columnist and author Leonard Pitts headlines 2012 Coe Contemporary Issues Forum

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2012-01-05 13:15:11 - General

Leonard Pitts

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and best-selling author Leonard Pitts will be the keynote speaker at the ninth Coe College Contemporary Issues Forum on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium.

Reserved seating is available by calling the Coe Box Office at 319-399-8600 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning Friday, Jan. 13. Ticket prices are $10 and $5 for students and seniors.

In a career spanning 35 years, Pitts has been a columnist, a college professor, a radio producer and a lecturer. His work has appeared in such publications as Musician, Spin, TV Guide, Reader’s Digest and Parenting. In addition, he wrote, produced and syndicated “Who We Are,” an award-winning 1988 radio documentary on the history of Black America. He has written and produced numerous other radio programs on subjects as diverse as Madonna and Martin Luther King Jr. Pitts was also a writer for radio’s popular countdown program, “Casey’s Top 40” with Casey Kasem.

Pitts joined the Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. Since 1994, he has penned a syndicated column of commentary on pop culture, social issues and family life. His book, “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood,” was released in 1999 and was reissued in paperback in 2006. His critically-acclaimed first novel, “Before I Forget,” was released in 2009 and a collection of his columns, “Forward From This Moment,” was published that same year.

In 2004, Pitts was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1992. In 1997, Pitts took first place for commentary in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors’ Ninth Annual Writing Awards competition. He is a three-time recipient of the Atlantic City Press club’s National Headliners Award and a seven-time recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award. In 2001, he received the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Award for Commentary Writing and was named Feature of the Year – Columnist by Editor and Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. In 2002 and in 2009, GLAAD Media awarded Pitts the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award.

Established by the late K. Raymond Clark '30, the Contemporary Issues Forum presents the views of distinguished leaders whose work has shaped and altered the course of world events. The forum has featured former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Poland President Lech Walesa, deep-sea oceanographer Robert Ballard, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau, ecology expert Jared Diamond and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.