February 19, 2008

PBS' Ray Suarez to speak at SIUC next week

by Pete Rosenbery


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Award-winning broadcast journalist Ray Suarez will provide his perspective on faith and politics in 2008 during a lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Suarez, a senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS, will present the Jack and Muriel Hayward Lecture at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, in SIUC Center Ballroom B. The event is free and open to the public.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and WSIU are sponsoring the lecture. Jack Hayward was a professor and department chair of the University's Religious Studies program. He taught at SIUC for 25 years before retiring in 1983.

"Ray Suarez is an outstanding journalist — thoughtful, honest, committed to fact-finding, an excellent communicator. He summoned all those talents to focus on religion and politics. We are delighted to have him as our leadoff headliner for the spring," Institute Director Mike Lawrence said.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend a media availability with Ray Suarez at 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, in WSIU-TV Studio A — room 1065 in the Communications Building.

Suarez has more than 30 years of journalism experience with news organizations including CNN, ABC Radio Network in New York, CBS Radio in Rome, WMAQ-TV in Chicago, and National Public Radio. His most recent book, "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America," explores the attitudes and beliefs of the people behind the voting numbers and how the political divide is manifesting itself across the country.

Suarez will explore these issues and also provide his analysis of the 2008 presidential race while at SIUC, according to the institute. Suarez also will speak in a "Politics of Diversity" class taught by Randy Burnside, an assistant professor in political science.

Suarez joined the award-winning program in October 1999 as its Washington-based senior correspondent. Prior to that, he hosted the national call-in news program, "Talk of the Nation."

Suarez shared in two duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Awards earned by NPR for its on-site coverage of the first all-race elections in South Africa, and the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. His other awards include the 2005 Distinguished Policy Leadership Award from UCLA's School of Public Policy.

Suarez earned a bachelor's degree in African History from New York University and a master's degree in the social sciences from the University of Chicago.

For more information on this or any other spring 2008 program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit www.paulsimoninstitute.siuc.edu.