Hill Harper heads M.L. King and Black History Month celebrations at KSU


Actor, author and activist to speak Jan. 18  As a star of the hit CBS drama, “CSI:NY,…

Georgia (Dec 17, 2009)Actor, author and activist to speak Jan. 18

 As a star of the hit CBS drama, “CSI:NY,” Hill Harper’s star power means instant recognition. But a generation of young men and women whose success has become Harper’s cause, also recognize him as a mentor, guru and role model. 


Harper will bring his messages of hope, hard work and success — themes he has developed in a series of recent New York Times best-selling books — to Kennesaw State University, Monday, Jan. 18, as keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Celebration and launch of KSU’s 2010 Black History Month observance. The program is scheduled from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center on the KSU campus.


The 43 year-old Harper wears many hats — stage and screen actor, author, scholar, activist, mentor, volunteer and entrepreneur — laying the groundwork for what he now considers his life mission: to pass  his knowledge to a younger generation.  


“My goal is to teach, show and prove to everyone that any dream is possible,” Harper says in a video aired on the Web site for his MANifest Your Destiny Foundation, a non-profit youth organization designed to empower, encourage and inspire young males to be successful. “We’re building a community of destiny achievers.” 


Harper initially pursued his passion for success in the academic arena, graduating with honors from Brown University and earning graduate degrees in law and public administration from Harvard University, but he couldn’t resist the call of the stage.

An aspiring actor since he was 7 years old, Harper parlayed his theatrical interests into a successful career with mounting stage, film and TV credits. In addition to his CSI role as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes, Harper has appeared in CBS’ “City of Angels” TV series, in recurring roles on Showtime’s “Soul Food” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” and guest appearances on several prime-time shows. In film, Harper is best known for his role in the HBO movie “Lackawanna Blues,” but he has received critical acclaim for roles in more than a dozen cable and independent films, including “Loving Jezebel,” “The Nephew” with Pierce Brosnan, “In Too Deep” with Omar Epps, L.L. Cool J and Nia Long, “He Got Game” with Denzel Washington and “Full Court Press” with Ellen Burstyn and Taye Diggs.  His stage credits include “Dogeaters” and off-Broadway productions of “Blue,” “Your Handsome Captain,” “Freeman” and David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.”"


In 2006, Harper wrote “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny,” a motivational guide of practical advice for teens and young men. The book became a New York Times best seller and won the American Library Association’s 2007 prize for Best Book for Young Adults. A second book, “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny” followed in 2007, and also became a NYT best-seller. Harper’s latest book, “The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships,” was published in 2009.


Harper’s appearance at the Martin Luther King Day Celebration is sponsored by the KSU African-American Student Alliance in conjunction with the KSU Black History Celebration Committee. Admission is free. For more information, contact the KSU African-American Student Alliance at ksuaasa@yahoo.com or call (770) 423-6712. A detailed listing of KSU Black History Month events may be found at http://www.kennesaw.edu/stu_dev/msrs/celebration_calendar.shtml.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu