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Pulitzer Prize Winner to Speak at Mount St. Mary's Commencement

March 10, 2010 -- Mount Saint Mary’s University celebrates commencement 2010 on May 10 with speaker Sonia Nazario, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose newspaper series "Enrique's Journey" became a national bestselling book.

Nazario has spent 20 years reporting and writing about social issues, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Her stories have tackled some of this country's most intractable problems: hunger, drug addiction and immigration. She has won numerous national journalism and book awards. In 2003, her "Enrique's Journey" series about a Honduran boy's struggle to find his mother in the U.S. won more than a dozen awards. Among them: the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing; the George Polk Award for International Reporting; the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award; and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.

Expanded into a book, "Enrique's Journey" became a national bestseller and won two book awards. It is now required reading for incoming freshmen at dozens of colleges and high schools across the U.S.

"Sonia's commitment to writing about real-life human drama fits well with the Mount's tradition of making social justice a central value of education at the Mount," says Mount President Jacqueline Powers Doud.

Before "Enrique's Journey," Nazario was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on children of drug addicted parents. In 1994 she won a George Polk Award for Local Reporting for a series about hunger among schoolchildren in California.

Nazario has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a "trendsetter" by Hispanic Magazine.

Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and Argentina, has written extensively about Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She is now at work on her second book. She began her career at the Wall Street Journal, where she reported from four bureaus: New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles. In 1993, she joined the Los Angeles Times. She serves on the advisory board of the University of North Texas Mayborn Literary Non-fiction Writer's Conference and on the board of directors of Kids In Need of Defense, a non-profit launched by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie to provide pro-bono attorneys to unaccompanied immigrant children.

She is a graduate of Williams College and has a master's degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Mount will award the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters to Nazario for her commitment to social justice issues. Also at commencement, the College will award its highest honor, the Carondelet Medal, to Michael A. Enright, a trustee of the College since 1991 and chair of the board. Commencement will be held at 3 p.m. in the Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, Calif.

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