Sports journalist Wilbon to speak May 1

Alexandra Finkel

Sports journalist and Northwestern alumnus Michael Wilbon, Medill ’80, will speak at NU May 1, A&O Productions announced Thursday.

The event, part of A&O’s alumni speaker series, which previously brought Joshua Radin, Communication ’96, to campus, will take place 7:30 p.m. in the Owen L. Coon Forum of Leverone Hall.

Currently serving as an analyst for ESPN, Wilbon writes a column for The Washington Post and has co-hosted ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption since 2001.

Wilbon was an obvious choice because he is well-known in the sports and journalism industries, said Adam Pumm, A&O director of speakers.

“We feel he is a speaker whom students will really enjoy, especially evidenced by the success of his television show and his career in general,” the Weinberg junior said. “We haven’t really had any sports-oriented speakers at NU, at least in a while, so we’re excited about doing something new.”

Pumm said Wilbon has a lot of appeal for the NU community.

“There is a large contingent of students who are interested in journalism and broadcasting,” he said. “Mike is a great person to speak to those students.”

WNUR sports host Ranjan Rohatgi said he was looking forward to hearing Wilbon speak at NU.

“I’ve been watching his show on ESPN since I was a freshman or sophomore in high school,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “I’ve been a huge fan for years.”

Rohatgi said Wilbon’s ties to NU will make him inspirational for students.

“When I realized that I was going to come to Northwestern, I found out that a lot of guys on ESPN like Wilbon came to school here,” he said. “That was really exciting.”

A&O worked with the Center for Student Involvement and the Office of the Provost to bring Wilbon, said Barry McCardel, A&O co-director of promotions and public relations. Because his appearance is co-sponsored with the NU Alumni Association, passes will be free for all NU students, the Communication sophomore said.

Passes will be available at the Norris Box Office on Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. Students will be able to pick up two passes per WildCARD.

Even if all passes are given out, students will still have a chance to see Wilbon speak if they attend the event, McCardel said.

“If people aren’t seated 10 minutes before the show and there are empty seats, we will open a will call and allow additional students into the forum,” he said.

Since his graduation, Wilbon has been back to campus various times because of his passion for NU athletics, Pumm said.

“Mike really loves NU, and he’s excited to come back here,” he said. “He loves to come back to Evanston whenever he gets a chance.”

McCardel said Wilbon’s speaking engagement is one of several events A&O has planned for Spring Quarter.

“We’re very excited about this quarter,” he said. “Students are going to be happy with the programming, especially the events we haven’t announced yet.”

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