Thursday January 6, 2011

Waiting for Superman

Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, brings his passion for education reform to campus on Jan. 18.

Geoffrey Canada works tirelessly to increase high school and college graduation rates among students in a nearly 100-block area of Harlem.

A nationally recognized trailblazer in education reform, he is prominently featured in the new documentary, Waiting for Superman, and has been named one of "America’s Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report.

Canada will address "Waiting for Superman: The Crisis Facing Youth — What Adults and Communities Can Do to Save Our Children" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the RecPlex at the University of Dayton. A booksigning will follow. The evening will include a special tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Free and open to the public, the event is part of the Diversity Lecture Series and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration at the University of Dayton. Free parking is available in S1 (east of RecPlex off Irving Avenue), C and P lots.  Download a map here.

Since 1990, Canada has served as president and CEO for Harlem Children's Zone, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time."  He has dedicated his life to helping impoverished, at-risk youth beat the odds. His work in Harlem has been groundbreaking and replicated in communities across the nation.

He's the author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching for Manhood and is the subject of a recent best-seller, Whatever It Takes.

Canada's work has been featured on "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "CBS This Morning," "The Charlie Rose Show," National Public Radio's "On Point," as well as in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today and Newsday.

During his trip to Dayton, he will attend an invitation-only panel discussion with University of Dayton students and local educational leaders, including Lori Ward, superintendent of Dayton Public Schools. He has been invited to tour the Dayton Early College Academy, an innovative charter school operated on campus by the University of Dayton under the sponsorship of Dayton Public Schools. It was the first high school of its kind in Ohio and in the vanguard of similar schools nationally. Every graduate has been accepted to college.

The University's commitment to diversity is founded in its Catholic heritage of social justice and the Marianist tradition of equality and being inclusive of people from all segments of society.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- who's turned to filmmaking and writing books that popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history -- will close out the 2010-11 Diversity Lecture Series. "An Evening With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: On the Shoulders of Giants" is slated for 7:30 p.m. March 14, at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center, One West Second St. Abdul-Jabbar's appearance is presented by the University of Dayton and Victoria Theatre Association. Tickets for the general public are $15 and $20.

The Ohio premiere of Abdul-Jabbar's documentary, On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Basketball Team You Never Heard Of, will precede his talk at 4 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. The documentary, still in production, chronicles the Harlem Rens, a local, all-black New York team that became the first basketball world champions in 1939. Tickets for the general public will be $5. Students with a valid college or high school identification card may attend at no cost.

The Diversity Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the offices of the president and provost, with the generous support of such community partners as The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ); United Way of the Greater Dayton Area; YWCA Dayton; Victoria Theatre Association; Markey's Rental and Staging; Ross Buick-GMC-Hummer; RTA; NewPage; University of Dayton's Media Production Group; Dayton Daily News; WDTN-TV; WDAO-1210 AM; and 92.1 WROU.

For more information or interviews, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3255 or rizvi@udayton.edu.