Harper Appearance Continues 2014-2015 Speakers Series
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MISSOURI., Feb. 12, 2015 — Hill Harper, actor, author, health and wellness ambassador, educator and philanthropist, will present the University’s annual Michael Davis Lecture as a component of Southeast Missouri State University’s 2014-2015 Speakers Series at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in Academic Auditorium.
The presentation, titled “Manifest Your Destiny,” is free and open to the public.
The Michael Davis Lecture recognizes the contributions of African-Americans in the media. The event also honors the late Michael Davis, a journalism student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident. In 1997, the then Department of Mass Communication held the first Michael Davis Lecture to honor his memory as part of the University’s Black History Month activities. The Michael Davis Lecture continues each year, with a special invited guest from the mass media.
Harper starred in the hit television drama, “CSI: NY,” in which he played eccentric Dr. Sheldon Hawkes from 2004 until early 2013. During that time, Harper won three NAACP Image Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He currently stars on USA Network’s “Covert Affairs” as CIA Station Chief Calder Michaels. Prior to “CSI: NY,” Harper co-starred as an ambitious undercover FBI operative on the CBS series, “The Handler,” which earned him a 2004 Golden Satellite Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Harper also has authored four New York Times best sellers, including “Letters to a Young Brother,” “Letters to a Young Sister,” “The Conversation” and “The Wealth Cure,” which chronicled his diagnosis with thyroid cancer and his journey to health. “Letters to a Young Brother” won several awards and was named “Best Book for Young Adults” by the American Library Association in 2007. To date, his collective writing and acting work has been recognized with seven NAACP Image Awards. Harper’s latest book, “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother,” released to critical acclaim.
Harper was born in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of two doctors – his father a psychiatrist and his mother an anesthesiologist. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Administration, with honors, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Law School. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Howard University, Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Westfield State College, Dillard University and Tougaloo College. During his years at Harvard, Harper was a full-time member of Boston’s Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed African-American theater troupes in the country.
Harper made his television debut in 1993 with a recurring role on the FOX series, “Married … with Children,” and his film debut in 1996, in Spike Lee’s “Get on the Bus.” He has appeared in many award-winning television projects and several more films.
Harper is dedicated to social justice and engages in significant activities to carry out his philanthropic vision. In an effort to stop the high school dropout rate and improve the life chances of underserved youth, he created the Manifest Your Destiny (MYD) Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering, inspiring and guiding youth toward a better future, as well as developing the leadership capacity young adults need to serve as mentors. MYD works to fill future college classrooms instead of prison cells. Harper has recently visited correctional facilities, where he delivers powerful and motivational messages of hope and self-empowerment to hundreds.