TV Journalist and CNN Co-Anchor
“Creating Trust: The Media, Ethics and
7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 9, 2006
Launer Auditorium, Columbia College Campus
In November 2000, John A. Schiffman, a member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, announced a $1.5 million donation to the college to establish an endowed chair in ethics, religious studies and philosophy. At the time, it was the single largest donation in the school’s history.
A major focus of the Althea W. and John A. Schiffman endowed chair is the establishment of an annual Ethics in Society lecture series to bring scholars and lecturers to campus.
Schiffman made the gift in honor of his late wife, Althea, who graduated from Christian College in 1941 (renamed Columbia College in 1970). She also served on the Columbia College Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1987.
“It is my hope that through the endowed chair and lecture series, Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to students that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are just as important as intellect,” Schiffman said.
Soledad O’Brien co-anchors “American Morning” with Miles O’Brien. Based in New York, O’Brien began anchoring CNN’s flagship morning program when she joined the network in July 2003. Since that time, O’Brien has attracted new viewers to the show, and secured many exclusive interviews.
In December 2004, O’Brien was among a handful of CNN anchors sent to Puhket, Thailand, to cover the disaster and aftermath of the tsunami that took more than 155,000 lives in that region. In the fall of 2003, she was the only broadcast journalist permitted to travel with First Lady Laura Bush on her trip to Moscow.
O’Brien came to CNN from NBC News, where she had anchored the network’s “Weekend Today” since July 1999. During that time, she contributed reports for the weekday “Today Show” and weekend editions of “NBC Nightly News”, and covered such notable stories as John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash and the school shootings in Colorado and Oregon. In 2003, she covered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and later anchored NBC’s weekend coverage of the war in Iraq. Additionally, in 1998, she traveled to Cuba to cover Pope John Paul II’s historic visit.
Before “Weekend Today”, O’Brien anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program “The Site”, and the cable network’s weekend morning show. O’Brien joined NBC News in 1991, and was based in New York as a field producer for the “Nightly News” and “Today”.
Before her time at NBC, she served three years as a local reporter and bureau chief for the NBC affiliate KRON in San Francisco. She began her career as an associate producer and news writer at the then-NBC affiliate, WBZ-TV in Boston.
O’Brien’s work has been honored several times, including a local Emmy for her work as a co-host on Discovery Channel’s “The Know Zone”. She has been named to “People” magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2001 and “People en Espanol’s” “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2004. O’Brien was also included in “Crain’s Business Reports’” “40 Under 40” and “Essence” magazine’s “40 Under 40,” both in 2004. O’Brien has also been named to “Irish American Magazine’s” “Top 100 Irish Americans” on two occasions.
She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She also writes a bi-monthly column for “USA Weekend” magazine on parenting. O’Brien is a graduate of Harvard University.
Dr. Anthony Alioto, professor of history, has served as the Althea W. and John A. Schiffman chair in ethics, religious studies and philosophy at Columbia College since 2002.
Alioto earned a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from the University of Wisconsin, then served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War as a personnel specialist. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and Presidential Unit Citation for his work in the return of prisoners from north Vietnam. After his military service, he returned to graduate school at Ohio University, where he was a John F. Cady Fellow. Alioto earned his master’s degree and his doctorate in the history of science and philosophy.
He joined Columbia College in 1981. During his tenure, Alioto has been selected as Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Professor of the Year and Faculty Member of the Year. He also was selected as the 1996 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
He is the author of “A History of Western Science,” as well as a work of fiction entitled “Toad Familiar,” which is based upon quantum theory, ancient religions and Eastern philosophy.
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