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Contentious Author, Educator to Give Heath Lecture

Sometimes controversial, often correct and always passionate Dr. Steve Perry will be the featured speaker at the University of the Virgin Islands Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the Reichhold Center for the Arts. Dr. Perry is an educator, author and founder/principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Among the many accomplishments of Capital Preparatory, it gets a perfect score for sending its graduates to college. One hundred percent of the school's graduates go on to four-year colleges. The year-round college preparatory school with a social justice theme was named one of America's Best High Schools by US News and World Report. Through its curriculum, Capital Preparatory engages students in exploring issues of equality, democracy, economic opportunity, intellectual freedoms, environmental protection and human rights.

Dr. Perry, who was born into poverty and lived for 20 years in public housing, believes that the success of a life is determined by where you end, not where you start. That philosophy inspired him to transform the lives of poor and minority children by providing them with access to a college education. He was thrust into the national spotlight after being featured on CNN's documentary "Black in America," when he challenged the opinions of respected scholar Dr. Cornel West.

Dr. Perry's latest book, "Raggedy Schools, the Untold Truth," takes a compelling and at times scathing look at urban education. In the book he exposes teachers' unions, principals and parents for destroying public schools and challenges them to make changes to improve the system.

A rare mix of scholar and community activist makes Dr. Perry an essential voice in helping to solve some of the nation's social and institutional woes. He is also an educational consultant, radio and television commentator, and columnist.

Admission to hear this nationally sought-after speaker is free. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series offers the public a setting in which to hear nationally and internationally recognized individuals discuss issues related to the challenges and opportunities faced by the global community. The series is the University's way of recognizing and celebrating the outstanding person and accomplished citizen that is Dr. Alfred O. Heath. As a UVI trustee emeritus and chair of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Heath is an ardent, longtime supporter of the mission of the University.

Past presenters of the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series were physician and humanitarian Dr. David Walton, renowned poet and activist Nikki Giovanni, award-winning veteran journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, author and activist Randall Robinson, Caribbean Development Bank President Dr. Compton Bourne and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives the Hon. Ronald Dellums.

For more information about the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series call Michelle Smitherman at 693-1042.