Skip to Main Content


News and Events Archives

Back to Online Campus News Archive
Actor Edward James Olmos to speak at Columbia College
Friday, February 20, 2009

(COLUMBIA, Mo.) -- Actor Edward James Olmos will deliver the 2009 Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture. Olmos's lecture, "Ethics in Hollywood," will begin at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 10 in Launer Auditorium on the Columbia College campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure a seat.

A media briefing and question-and-answer session for students, faculty and staff precedes the lecture at 4:30 p.m. in Dorsey Gym.

Known as the “Olivier of the Latino world,” the multi-talented actor, producer, director, and community activist was born and raised in East Los Angeles, and spent many years in theatrical roles until his Tony Award nominated performance in the musical play Zoot Suit. In 1988, Olmos received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Jaime Escalante, the eccentric but dedicated math teacher, in Stand and Deliver, which he also produced. In 1996, he was honored with a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination for his work in HBO’s The Burning Season, the story of the Brazilian political activist Chico Mendes. He also won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Lt. Castillo on the popular television series Miami Vice. He can currently be seen in the role of Commander Adama on the Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galactica.

In 1999, Olmos launched a nationwide multimedia project called Americanos: Latino Life in the United States, a celebration of Latino culture through photography, film, music, and the printed word. The project was designed to inspire Latino pride and to build bridges among Latinos and others. Americanos included a five-year traveling photography exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution; a music CD featuring Latino artists; a documentary that aired on HBO; and a book co-edited by Olmos of essays, photos, and commentary by today’s most notable figures in the Hispanic community.

Olmos also makes time to participate in many humanitarian efforts. He is a US Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and a national spokesperson for organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He is the executive director of the Lives In Hazard Education Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the United Stated Department of Justice. He speaks at an average of 150 institutions every year.

The Schiffman Lecture Series was established in 2000 through a gift by John A. Schiffman in honor of his late wife, Althea, a 1941 graduate of Christian College who served on the Columbia College Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1987. An endowed chair in ethics, religious studies and philosophy was also established; Dr. Anthony Alioto, professor of history, has filled the position since 2002. Following his wife's death, Schiffman served on the Columbia College Board of Trustees, retiring from the board 20 years later in 2007.

"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.

Visit the Schiffman Lecture Series site for more information.