CNN anchor Don Lemon to speak as part of ‘Through the Doors’

Mark Hammontree

Don Lemon, the host of CNN’s prime-time weekend broadcasts, will speak at the Ferguson Center Theater on Thursday as part of “Through the Doors,” a yearlong series of events, activities and speakers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of desegregation at The University of Alabama.

Lemon, who grew up in Baton Rouge, La., majored in broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College and has worked for many years in the news business across the country, including two years at Birmingham’s WBRC, Fox 6. Lemon came out as gay in his memoir Transparent, released in 2011, in which he addressed the issues he faced because of his race and sexuality while growing up and throughout his journalistic career.

University Programs, in partnership with the Dean of Students office, invited Lemon to speak as part of Capstone Conversations with the hope that students will benefit from the perspective that Lemon has to offer as a minority in the highly competitive business of news media.

“We felt that to commemorate the 50th anniversary of desegregation, we wanted to celebrate the progress of the University as well as society. Don Lemon is a great representative for CNN and can provide a great message about that progress and how we can continue to move forward,” said Betsy Stewart, a graduate assistant with University Programs.

Sarah Fisher, majoring in English, said she watches Lemon’s show “Newsroom.”

“He’s fun and it seems like he’s actually interested in what he’s talking about, more so than the anchors who just read from the teleprompter,” Fisher said. “He’ll actually say what he thinks about a story. It makes it more entertaining to watch.”

The Ferguson Center website is providing students a place to sign up for free tickets to the event, and Steward said it is expected that all the tickets will be claimed by Thursday.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Ferguson Theater, and, after Lemon speaks, there will be a short Q&A session. Students will also have an opportunity to meet the anchor during a book signing that will take place after the speech in the dining room across from the theater.

Carissa Schreiber contributed to this article.

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