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Central Park Five member, journalists among UB's Distinguished Speakers

Criminal justice advocate and Central Park Five member Yusef Salaam, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman and environmental journalist Jeff Corwin will be among the speakers for the 2019-20 University at Buffalo Distinguished Speakers Series, the university announced Tuesday.

Joining them for the 33rd annual series will be two personalities from ABC TV network shows: "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John and Season 22 "Dancing with the Stars" winner Nyle DiMarco.

The series begins Oct. 23 with DiMarco.

DiMarco, a deaf activist, empowers others to believe they can achieve and be anything they want in life, no matter the obstacle. He is an honorary spokesman for Language for Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids, or LEAD-K, which works to improve the lives of deaf people around the world.

All of the talks will begin at  7:30 p.m. and will be on UB's North Campus, either at Alumni Arena or the Center for the Arts.

"Since its inception, UB's Distinguished Speakers Series has been dedicated to showcasing accomplished and influential public figures who represent a diversity of expertise, perspective and lived experience," said UB President Satish K. Tripathi in a statement Tuesday.

"Five proponents of social justice and inclusion to a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, an iconic entrepreneur and one of the planet's leading advocates for the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems, this season's distinguished speakers promise to educate, entertain and engage us with compelling discussions about some of the most significant issues of our day," Tripathi added.

Salaam is scheduled to appear Feb. 24 in Alumni Arena as UB's 44th annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration speaker. He was one of five boys – four black and one Latino – who were tried and convicted in a sensational 1989 case in which a young white woman was brutally raped and left for dead in New York City's Central Park.

Their convictions were vacated in 2002. The teens were incarcerated between seven and 13 years. DNA in the case failed to link any of the five to the crime and a convicted murderer and rapist eventually confessed. Since his release, Salaam has been committed to advocating for and educating others regarding false confessions, police brutality, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America's criminal justice system.

Haberman, White House correspondent for the New York Times, is scheduled to speak Nov. 14 in the Center for the Arts. In 2018, she was part of a team of reporters who received the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for their coverage of the Trump administration and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Corwin, a renowned environmentalist, will speak April 1 in the Center for the Arts. As host of the Emmy-award winning ABC wildlife adventure series "Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin," he has educated and entertained audiences with his knowledge and deep sense of caring about the natural world.

John, a sought-after branding and marketing expert, is set to speak March 11 in the Center for the Arts. At a young age, John created the urban fashion label FUBU and is now sought out through his branding company, Shark Branding, as a consultant by global organizations and Fortune 500 companies.

Series subscriptions, which include one ticket to each lecture, will go on sale Sept. 23. Individual tickets will be available beginning Sept. 25.

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