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ABC News anchor John Quiñones to speak at ACU May 6 about opportunity through education


John Quiñones

Emmy Award-winning ABC News correspondent John Quiñones will speak at Abilene Christian University Saturday, May 6, in Hunter Welcome Center about “Opportunity Through Education.” The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9 a.m. for coffee and pastries, and the program will begin at 9:30. 

The speaking engagement is jointly hosted by ACU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and is sponsored by Telemundo Abilene and Prosperity Bank.

Quiñones will talk about the opportunities a college education afforded him as a child of migrant farm workers who began school not speaking English. From his early life of poverty, Quiñones rose to a career of more than 40 years at ABC News, serving as anchor for 20/20 and Primetime and earning seven national Emmy awards for his reporting. He is host and creator of What Would You Do?, the highly rated, hidden camera, ethical dilemma newsmagazine. 

In 2022, Quiñones received the Lifetime Achievement Award from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), the country’s oldest and most prominent Latino civil rights organization. In 2021, he received the Carr Van Anda Award for his “enduring contributions to journalism” by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, as well as the “Inspire: Visionary Leadership Award” from the Anne Frank School in San Antonio. 

Quiñones was also honored with a World Hunger Media Award and a Citation from the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. 

“ACU is intentional about its commitment to serve our Hispanic students and our broader Hispanic community,” said Abel Alvarez, ACU’s director of Hispanic Serving Institution initiatives. “John Quiñones’ message about the life-changing power of education will have a powerful impact on many people, but especially those who are or will be first-generation college students.”

The event also honors 10 years of the Race and Media Colloquium in ACU’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. In 2013, the department created a combined course/speaker series – JMC 302 Introduction to Race and Media and JMC 303 Colloquium in Race and Media. For most of the past decade, Dr. Doug Mendenhall, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, has taught the 1-hour course and coordinated guest speakers each semester for the colloquium portion. 

“We created this course to prepare our students for the reality of the markets they would enter and to help them better understand the impact of racial issues on various media industries,” said Dr. Kenneth Pybus, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. “It was funded by a generous financial gift from JMC alumna Elise Mitchell, and we continue to draw upon it to bring strong diverse speakers from industry and education.”

The program has been hailed as “innovative” and praised by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication as a model for how smaller journalism programs can address the challenge of ensuring diversity is incorporated into the curriculum and among those teaching in the classroom, Pybus said. 

Past speakers have included Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, professor and chair in the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University; Luis Clemons, senior diversity editor for National Public Radio and head of the Code Switch team; and the late Sean Adams, host of the Austin radio show “The Adams Theory,” contributor to ESPN and the Longhorn Network, and a fellow in the University of Texas Program for Sports and Media. Dr. Maria de Moya of the University of Tennessee’s Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations is the speaker for this spring’s 20th colloquium, taking place April 28-30.

— Wendy Kilmer

April 27, 2023

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