WMU alum, CNN contributor LZ Granderson to lecture on campus

Contact: Paula M. Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.-- CNN contributor, ESPN senior writer and Western Michigan University alumnus LZ Granderson returns to campus this week to deliver a lecture in the Community and Communication Distinguished Speaker Series put on by the School of Communication.

His talk, "We are all Ferguson: How not being at the table puts you at risk for being on the menu," is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Sangren Hall, room 1920. Granderson also is being inducted into the communication school's alumni academy and honored by the College of Arts and Sciences with an alumni achievement award.

Photo of LZ Granderson


LZ Granderson

As a CNN commentator, Granderson is among the most prominent voices in journalism today on a variety of issues making national news, including the killing of an unarmed teen who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.

On air and in his popular online column for CNN, Granderson has covered the death of Michael Brown, which continues to make headlines, fuel protests in Ferguson and has ignited heated national debate about the treatment of blacks by law enforcement.

School of Communication Director Leigh Ford says Granderson was invited to speak in the lecture series because of his civic engagement and for his reputation as a communication professional who brings a cogent and studied perspective to issues that are of national importance.

"Clearly, he's a highly visible media figure, but in his work he addresses topics that are of critical concern for us as a community, including issues of domestic violence involving sports figures and LGBT issues," Ford says.

The award-winning journalist is among CNN's go-to pundits whose commentary is not limited to certain subjects. He's been on air addressing same-sex marriage, presidential politics, NFL scandals, education and religious faith among other topics.

"I'm always looking for people who have a combination of success in their chosen profession, but who also exhibit this kind of civic engagement, which is important to us in the School of Communication," Ford says.

Granderson has been honored with numerous awards for gay rights advocacy. And his commentary has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

In the 1990s, he was an undergraduate at WMU, earning a degree in interpersonal communication with a minor in journalism in 1996.

According to his bio, Granderson's experiences at the Western Herald and WIDR were "instrumental in developing his voice as a journalist" and he characterizes himself as a proud WMU graduate. His favorite professors were Dr. Von Washington, professor emeritus of theatre, and Dr. Richard Gershon, professor of communication.

In addition to his commentary for CNN and sports reporting for ESPN, Granderson lectures at Northwestern University in Chicago. Granderson currently lives in Chicago with his partner Steve and their son Isaiah.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.

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