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LA Times Columnist Sandy Banks to Speak at Mount Commencement

April 27, 2012 -- The Mount welcomes Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks as its 2012 commencement speaker on May 7 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City.

Banks grew up in Cleveland with an after-school routine: She'd lie on the floor, put her feet on a heating vent and read Ann Landers and Dear Abby. Then she'd clip out her favorite columns and stick them in her journal. She still has a few. They remind her of the power of the written word to comfort, challenge, teach and inspire.

Journalism became her passion in college, when a class at Ohio State University required a term on the campus newspaper. Her time at Ohio State was cut short; her mother was diagnosed with cancer in her sophomore year. Sandy moved home to help care for her mother who died a few months later.

The next year Sandy graduated cum laude from Cleveland State University and took a job as a sports writer at a black weekly newspaper. Afterward she spent two years as a reporter at the Cleveland Press, before moving west to California in 1979 to join the staff of the Los Angeles Times.

Her 32-year career at the Los Angeles Times has included stints as a reporter, writer, editor, columnist, editorial writer and director of the newspaper's internship program. She was on the team awarded a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Los Angeles riots in 1992.

She is best known for her twice-a-week columns, which offer her personal perspective on events and issues in the news. Her work has won national recognition from journalism groups and organizations as varied as the National Council of Jewish Women and the Muslim Women's League; the Watts Community Health Foundation and the Beverly Hills Rotary Club; the California Teachers' Association and the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients.

In addition to her role at the newspaper, Sandy has taught journalism courses at USC and Cal State Northridge, written for several magazines, and provided commentary on CNN, PBS and NPR. She is a frequent speaker at civic functions, leadership forums and educational events, and is at work on a collection of essays and columns. Widowed in 1993, she raised her three daughters in Northridge. The two youngest are attending college; the oldest graduated from Stanford.

For more information about commencement 2012, click here.

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