'60 Minutes' correspondent to kick off 30th anniversary season of Speakers Series

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
September 27, 2010

Byron Pitts, a correspondent for CBS' 60 Minutes, will kick off the 30th anniversary season of the University Speakers Series Oct. 4 at Indiana State University's Tilson Auditorium. His presentation is being co-sponsored by WTHI-TV.

Pitts, an Emmy award-winning journalist for CBS News, chronicled how he overcame childhood challenges in his book, "Step Out On Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenge."

A chronic stutterer until he was 20, and diagnosed as functionally illiterate at 12, Pitts was bullied through elementary school and much of junior high school. In his book he describes his journey as a boy who felt uncomfortable in his own skin, the secrets he kept, the struggle to read and how those childhood challenges have affected his entire life.

Pitts was one of CBS News' lead reporters during the Sept. 11 attacks and won a national Emmy award for his coverage. As an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War, he was recognized for his work under fire within minutes of the fall of the statue of Saddam Hussein. Other major stories he covered include the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Afghanistan, the military buildup in Kuwait, the Florida fires, the Elian Gonzalez saga, the Florida Presidential recount, the mudslides in Central America and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. He was named chief national correspondent for "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" in January 2009.

Pitts' other awards include a national Emmy for his coverage of a 1999 Chicago train wreck and a National Association of Black Journalists Award. He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards.

A book signing and reception will follow Pitts' presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. Due to construction, patrons will need to enter Tirey Hall from the north or west doors. Volunteers will be available to provide directions to the marked entrances. Additionally, the university will run shuttles from the Cherry Street parking garage to the entrances beginning at 6:15 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

The University Speakers Series has brought the likes of Ralph Nadar, Gerald Ford, Sister Helen Prejean, Amy Tan, Nancy Grace, Andy Rooney, Robert Ballard, Carole Simpson, Marlee Matlin, Maya Angelou, Jim Lovell, Garrison Keillor, Bob Woodward, Robert Osborne, Mitch Albom and Andrew Young to the campus of Indiana State.

More information about the 2010-11 University Speakers Series can be found at http://www.indstate.edu/speaker/  or by calling 812-237-8479.

Media contact and writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or paula.meyer@indstate.edu