February 04, 2008

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee to keynote March 28 Unity Banquet

Spike Lee

Critically acclaimed film director, writer, producer and actor Spike Lee will keynote Case Western Reserve University's Office of Multicultural Affairs signature event—the Annual Unity Banquet & Scholarship Benefit—on March 28. The dinner and talk will be held at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, 6111 Landerhaven Drive in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m.

"He's politically conscious, culturally aware, and speaks to the plight of African Americans and underrepresented people. His work deals with race, politics, and socioeconomic issues—all of those touch on the things we do here in our office," said Dr. Deborale Richardson-Bouie, director of the university's Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).

The annual event, now in its 18th year, raises funds for scholarships for underrepresented students attending Case Western Reserve. Although Lee is a graduate of an historically black institution—Morehouse College—Richardson-Bouie said underrepresented students from various institutions deal with both similar and unique experiences. "To have someone like him recognize our students and want to speak to them and our Cleveland community is incredible."

She also added that Lee would appeal to everyone from aspiring film students to the general public who have enjoyed his films over the years. "He's the perfect balance between the academics and the community."

Lee's work has run the gamut in breadth and scope, ranging in genre from television miniseries to big screen dramas and music videos, including:

    When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, a television mini-series the disastrous series of events that devastated the city of New Orleans and its residents after Hurricane Katrina;
  • 4 Little Girls, a historical documentary about the civil rights movement and the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama which resulted in the deaths of four African-American girls;
  • Malcolm X, a biographical movie detailing the life of the controversial African American leader;
  • School Daze, which focused on African-American college life;
  • Do the Right Thing, an ensemble piece that dealt with rising racial tensions in a Brooklyn neighborhood;
  • and more, such as Inside Man, Get on the Bus, and He Got Game.

During the banquet, underrepresented students with grade point averages of 3.5 and above will be recognized. Also, several scholarships will be awarded, including the $10,000 Dr. Ronald E. McNair offered by the Office of Graduate Studies and presented to an underrepresented graduating senior who has been accepted into a Case graduate program. In addition to dinner, which begins at 7 p.m., the event will feature live music.

Ticket prices for the banquet are $60 until February 15; $70 from February 16 through March 8; $80 from March 9-21; and $100 after March 22. For more information, contact the OMA office at 216-368-2904.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, February 4, 2008 10:49 AM | News Topics: HeadlinesMain, Lectures/Speakers, Philanthropy, Provost Initiatives, Students

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.