This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Journalist Ron Suskind
To Speak at UW-Eau Claire
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: Feb. 2, 2000

EAU CLAIRE — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Thursday, Feb. 17. The Forum will present his lecture, titled "From the Inner City to the Ivy League," at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.
The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
A staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, Ron Suskind received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for his two articles about Cedric Jennings, a young man making the transition from inner-city high school achiever to culture-shocked survivor at an Ivy League university. Suskind traced the journey in detail in his inspiring first book, "A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League" (1998).
"It's the great end-of-century American story," Suskind says — "the struggle of poor black Americans to arrive at the table, to discover the promise of America."
Suskind first met Jennings while he was an honor student at a ghetto high school in a blighted corner of Washington, D.C. Though surrounded by fellow black students, Jennings was a particular minority — one of the 50 percent of students who had stayed in school and one of only 79 students who had managed a B average or better.
Jennings had few friends but three invaluable allies — his fiercely religious mother who, until he started school, stayed at home on welfare to give him a foundation in history, culture and values; his minister; and his mentor and chemistry teacher.
Suskind followed Jennings from his junior year of high school, through a competitive summer program for minority students at M.I.T., and through the most traumatic and liberating year of his life — his freshman year at Brown University. Jennings struggled to find a place among the accomplished, upper-middle-class students who were adapting so easily to their ivy-walled environment.
Heart-rending, funny and hopeful, Jennings' story speaks volumes about current issues of race and class, inequities in public education, the problem with standardized testing — and about the hidden toll exacted on students given a leg up by affirmative action programs who are then left to make it on their own.
When "A Hope in the Unseen" was published in May 1998, Suskind and Jennings were invited to meet with the staff of the President's Initiative on Race at the White House. Their television appearances include "Oprah," "Good Morning America" and "Nightline"; reviews and excerpts of the book appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fortune, Details, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post Book World, and Esquire.
Admission is $7 for the public; $5 for those age 62 and over and UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff; or $3 for those age 17 and under and UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
During the lecture, free parking is available on campus in the Hibbard and Phillips parking lots.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Feb. 2, 2000