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Renowned journalist to join in celebration of KIPCOR anniversary

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College continues its 30th-anniversary celebration, a nationally syndicated journalist will be on campus to join in.

Leonard Pitts Jr. will speak Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall, an event that is free and open to the public.

The title for his talk is “What Now? America in the Age of Trump.”

Pitts is a native of southern California who graduated from the University of Southern California at age 19. He currently writes a syndicated column for the Miami Herald that is one of the most popular in the country.

Pitts has a long list of awards to his credit, most notably the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

In 2001, he received the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) award for commentary writing, as well as Feature of the Year-Columnist from Editor and Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists gave Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award.

He won the National Association of Black Journalists’ Award of Excellence three times, the Atlantic City Press Club’s National Headliners Award five times and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award seven times. The NABJ named him Journalist of the Year in 2008.

Pitts came to national attention for his column of Sept. 12, 2001, “We’ll go forward from this moment,” an angry and defiant open letter to the Sept. 11 terrorists that was circulated around the globe via internet and widely quoted.

Pitts is the author of three nonfiction books, including Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood (2006) and Forward from this Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009 (2009), and three novels, Before I Forget (2009), Freeman (2012) and Grant Park (2015).

He lives in Bowie, Maryland, with his family, and maintains a busy speaking schedule with college, civic and professional groups around the country.

Pitts’ two most recent books, Grant Park and Freeman, can be pre-ordered from Watermark Books in Wichita,

Pitts will sign books following his Sept. 12 talk, or if you aren’t able to make it, you can have your signed books mailed to you.

Pitts’ appearance at Bethel, which is sponsored by the Newton law firm of Adrian & Pankratz and has the media sponsorship of KMUW-FM, Wichita’s public radio station, will also include an informal meeting with students during the day.

“Leonard Pitts Jr. was among the first people suggested by our planning committee when considering keynote speakers to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary,” said Dan Wassink, chair of the KIPCOR Anniversary Planning Committee. “His insightful commentary and unique perspective on the social and political issues that too often divide us are a perfect fit with the peacebuilding mission of KIPCOR.”

Bethel College is the only private college in Kansas listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2016–17. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.