Marian Wright Edelman Presidential Lecture

To All Stduents, Faculty and Staff,

Please join me on Tuesday, May 7 at 4:00 PM on the Main Stage of Staller Center for the Arts, when Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), the preeminent non-profit child advocacy organization, delivers the Stony Brook University Presidential Lecture. Our students, faculty and staff are very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience this presentation by, and pose questions to, one of the world's foremost child advocates. She is a tremendous role model and has accomplished so much throughout her career on behalf of the disadvantaged - from her work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to the advent of the Freedom Schools program and everything in between.

Under her leadership, the CDF, now in its 40th anniversary year, has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. The organization's Leave No Child Behind mission is to ensure every child receives a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Since 1992, the CDF has been operating the Freedom Schools program, an educational, recreational and cultural enrichment program that provides a safe, fun and nurturing learning environment during the summer months for under served youth.

Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She is presently a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation and the Association to Benefit Children, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She has received more than 100 honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.

Marian Wright Edelman's life and her experiences personify what can be accomplished when vision and mission meet perseverance and an iron will. She recognized the need to fix something that was broken and has made an unprecedented impact on our under served populations, yet her work is not finished. That is why I hope you will come to the Staller Center on Tuesday, May 7, to hear our nation's greatest child advocate talk about how far we've come, and how there is still so much more that can be done.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.