Signature Lecture Series

Tickets will be on sale starting Friday, August 1 for $20. MSU faculty, staff, and students can receive two FREE tickets with current MSU ID at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts box office.

After the lecture, both Isabel and Soledad will hold book signings in the Wharton Center lobby and copies of The Warmth of other Suns and The Next Big Story will be available for purchase.

flyer for the signature lecture series with soledad o'brien and isabel wilkerson


Soledad O'Brien

Emmy-Award-winning Journalist, Educator, Mentor, and Philanthropist


portrait of a woman with brown hair and brown eyes

Soledad O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, and producer. O’Brien was the originator of the critically acclaimed documentary series, Black in America, and its follow-up, Latino in America. In June 2013, she launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal stories. 

O'Brien has reported on breaking news from around the globe. In 2011, she won an Emmy for "Crisis in Haiti Report" on Haitian orphanages, following the massive earthquake. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina earned her and CNN a George Foster Peabody award. She also received another Peabody award for her coverage of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. Her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I DuPont award.

O'Brien was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists (2010) and one of Newsweek magazine’s "10 People Who Make America Great." In 2013, O'Brien was named  a Distinguished Fellow by Harvard University and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the foundation for The National Archives.


Isabel Wilkerson

Best-selling Author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize


portrait of a woman with black hair and brown eyes holding award

Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author, spent 15 years interviewing more than 1,200 people to write The Warmth of Other Suns. Her award-winning work of narrative nonfiction tells the epic story of three people who made the decision of their lives in what came to be known as the Great Migration.

Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. She won for her pieces on the rural heartache of the Midwest floods and her profile of a ten–year–old boy growing up with a man’s obligations on Chicago's south side. Wilkerson also won a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her research into the Great Migration, a George Polk Award, and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (1994).

She has lectured on narrative writing at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, and has served as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton. She was the James M. Cox Jr. Professor at Emory University, and is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University.