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Common, America Ferrera, Dan Rather to speak in Butler’s Diversity Lecture Series

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Rapper/actor Common, actress/social activist America Ferrera and newsman Dan Rather will speak at Butler University as part of the spring 2012 Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series.

All events in the series take place in Clowes Memorial Hall. The events are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available at the box office and through Ticketmaster (some fees apply) beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 9 for Common, 10 a.m. Feb. 10 for Ferrera and 10 a.m. March 9 for Rather.

There is a limit of two tickets per person.

More information about each event follows.

* * * * *

“Lessons of Life: One Day It’ll All Make Sense”

An address by Common, Grammy-winning artist, actor and author

Thursday, Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Common, hailed as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, delivers messages of self-respect, love and activism in music and speeches. He rose to prominence in hip-hop with albums that include “Can I Borrow a Dollar?,” “Resurrection,” “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Electric Circus,” “BE” and “Finding Forever.”

In January 2007, Common made his acting debut co-starring in “Smokin’ Aces.” Since then he’s co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in “American Gangster,” “Street Kings,” starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; in “Wanted,” opposite Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman; and in “Terminator Salvation,” starring Christian Bale.

He is currently starring in the new AMC TV series “Hell on Wheels,” which debuted in November.

In 2007 he launched the Common Ground Foundation, dedicated to empowering urban youth to realize their full potential. In 2009, Common was able to motivate and empower collegiate minds across the country through speeches in California, at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Memphis, Wright State University, University of Rochester and KIPP Charter Schools.

Common also offers a younger generation a better understanding of self-respect and love, utilizing the cultural relevance of hip-hop, in the children’s books he has written. The first one, entitled The MIRROR and ME, teaches lessons of life, the human spirit and human nature. His follow-up book, I Like You But I Love Me, was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and his third book, M.E. (Mixed Emotions), was released in 2008. His latest book, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, a memoir about life and growing up, was released in September.

* * * * *

“An Evening with America Ferrera”

Emmy-winning actress and activist

Tuesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m.

America Ferrera is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award-winning portrayal of Betty Suarez on the ABC hit comedy “Ugly Betty,” but she is also a devoted humanitarian who dedicates her time, energy and star power to generating attention to the causes that are near and dear to her heart, particularly those impacting children and their education.

A gifted and fearless actress, Ferrera received a Special Jury Award for acting with her debut in “Real Women Have Curves,” a performance she followed up with roles in such films as “Lords of Dogtown,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and the Oscar-nominated animated film “How to Train Your Dragon.” Most recently, she appeared in “The Dry Land,” which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and which Ferrera also executive produced.

A staunch believer that one person can truly make a difference, Ferrera, an artist ambassador for Save the Children, helped raise more than $44,000 to build a new elementary school in Mali, an accomplishment that garnered her the 2011 Global Action award for Childhood Development and Education. She also recently traveled to India with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to take part in the PBS film “Half the Sky,” which draws a compelling picture of the trials and triumphs of women worldwide as they struggle for opportunity and equality.

In 2010, Ferrera was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Inspira Award, which recognized her contributions as a role model through her work as an actress and activist. She is also the recipient of the 2011 Global Action Award for Childhood Development and Education for her work with Save the Children in Mali. In March 2011, Ferrera was named the 2011 national recipient of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy Award for her commitment to helping lead underprivileged families and youth to a better life and education.

* * * * *

“From Selma to Obama and Beyond: An Evening with Dan Rather”

Distinguished broadcast journalist

Monday, April 23, 7:30 p.m.

Dan Rather is one of the most recognized and renowned reporters of our time. Over the past 40 years, Rather has been a part of history’s defining moments. Rather has reported from front lines around the globe, including such places as Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Tiananmen Square, the Middle East, Bosnia and Haiti.

On the domestic front, Rather has covered nearly every major story, from 9/11 to President Clinton’s impeachment. He has reported on the civil rights movement, Watergate and every presidential campaign since 1952.

The recipient of virtually every honor in broadcast journalism, including numerous Emmys, a Peabody and citations from critical, scholarly, professional and charitable organizations, Rather produces and hosts “Dan Rather Reports,” a weekly news program featuring hard-edged field reports, interviews and investigative pieces exclusively on HDNet.

For more information, call (317) 940-6444.


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