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NMSU Honors College to present author Richard Rodriguez

Journalist and author Richard Rodriguez, who has been called the master of the personal essay, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at New Mexico State University's Music Center Recital Hall.



Journalist and author Richard Rodriguez, who has been called the master of the personal essay, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at New Mexico State University's Music Center Recital Hall as part of the University Speakers Series presented by the Honors College and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. (Courtesy Photo)

Rodriguez's presentation is part of the University Speakers Series, which brings prominent speakers to Las Cruces. No tickets are required and admission is free.

Rodriguez, who writes about the intersection of his personal life with some of the great vexing issues of America, will present "Hispanics in America: Who are they?"

The son of Mexican immigrant parents, Rodriguez studied as an undergraduate at Stanford University and spent two years in a religious studies program at Columbia. He then studied English Renaissance literature at the Warburg Institute in London and was a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1982, Rodriguez published an intellectual autobiography, "Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez." Widely celebrated and criticized, this book is today read in many American high schools and colleges. A memoir of a "scholarship boy," "Hunger of Memory" remains controversial for its skepticism regarding bilingual education and affirmative action.

In 1992, Rodriguez published "Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father," a "philosophical travel book," concerned with the moral landscape separating "Protestant America" and "Catholic Mexico." This book was a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1993.

Rodriguez published "Brown: The Last Discovery of America" in 2002. In a series of essays concerned with topics as varied as the cleaning of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, cubism, and Broadway musicals, Rodriguez undermines America's black and white notion of race and proposes the color brown for understanding the future and past of the Americas.

As a journalist, Richard Rodriguez worked for more than two decades for the Pacific News Service in San Francisco. He also has been a contributing editor for Harper's Magazine and the Sunday opinion section of the Los Angeles Times.

Many recognize him from his television appearances on PBS, where for more than 10 years he has appeared as an essayist on "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer." His televised essays on American life were honored in 1997 with a George Peabody Award.

The NMSU Speakers Series, presented by the Honors College and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, strives to bring to Las Cruces distinguished lecturers who will appeal to a broad community audience. Previous speakers have included Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, environmental attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., Native American author N. Scott Momaday and neurologist Oliver Sacks.