Williams sheds light on HOPE

February 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Author and political analyst Juan Williams will be the guest speaker Thursday, Feb. 19, at Shippensburg University, as part of a benefit for the school's yearly minority scholarship program.

Williams will present a lecture at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, following an on-campus dinner honoring the latest recipients of the Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) Diversity Scholarship, said Ronnie Tucker, co-chair of the HOPE committee and associate professor of political science.

The audience will have the chance to ask Williams questions during the lecture. He also will sign copies of his book in the lobby afterward, said Leslie Folmer Clinton, associate vice president for external affairs and director of Luhrs.

The string of events commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s message and will raise funds for the HOPE scholarship, formerly known as the Gifted Minority Scholarship.


HOPE scholars, Tucker said, are selected from a pool of incoming minority students based on test scores, GPAs, class rank and how well they interview. Clinton said nearly a half million dollars has been awarded to students since the scholarship was founded in 1983.

Williams was the committee's No. 1 pick for speaker this year. Past speakers include Alice Walker, Jesse Jackson and Coretta Scott King.

Williams is a senior correspondent at National Public Radio and is a political analyst for Fox television. He is also the author of six books, including "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements and Culture of Failure That are Undermining Black America - and What We Can Do About it."

Pundits have criticized Williams for being too conservative. Last month, he came under fire for comments he made on Fox, that first lady Michelle Obama could end up being a "Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress" if she gets off-message during Obama's presidency - a comment that he told The Herald-Mail has been taken out of context.

"There's some people who say that I was attacking Michelle Obama, when all I was trying to do was lay out the pitfalls if she were to get off message in the way that she did back in the summer," Williams said. "If that's her instinct, then that's going to be a problem."

He later said, "If I left the wrong impression, I apologize. By no means was it an attack on Michelle Obama."

Tucker said the committee was aware of Williams' comments but stood by the decision to bring him to the campus.

"Sometimes people in the limelight say things that later on, they have to recapitulate on," he said.

Tucker said the committee was impressed by his writings about the Civil Rights movement and the acclimation of blacks into the political process - most notably his book "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965."

Clinton said Williams had impressive credentials as a journalist and author, which made him stand out.

"We're an educational institution," Clinton said. "We want to hear different viewpoints on things."

If you go ...

Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) Diversity Scholarship Program benefit

WHAT: Dinner honoring the recipients of the HOPE scholarship

WHEN: 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19

WHERE: Heiges Field House, Bucks Drive, Shippensburg University campus, Shippensburg, Pa.

COST: Tickets cost $45 and include admission to Juan Williams' lecture.

For $75, patrons can attend a reception with Williams at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Thursday, in addition to dinner and the lecture.

Dinner tickets must be purchased in advance; deadline is Friday, Feb. 13.

MORE: For tickets, call 717-477-1738 or e-mail

WHAT: Juan Williams lecture

WHEN: 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 19

WHERE: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, off Cumberland Drive, Shippensburg University campus, Shippensburg, Pa. The building is next to the Heiges Field House.

COST: Tickets for the lecture cost $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 or younger. Admission is free for Shippensburg University students with ID. Tickets for the lecture do not need to be purchased in advance.

MORE: For tickets, call 717-477-1738 or e-mail

Coming Sunday

o Read what Juan Williams had to say about diversity, politics and the controversy around his comments about the first lady in the Lifestyle section on Sunday in The Herald-Mail.

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