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Roberts to Deliver Black History Month Keynote Speech

Chairman and CEO of a $900 million empire to speak Feb. 23 at Norris University Center

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February 18, 2010 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Michael V. Roberts -- one of the world’s most successful African-American entrepreneurs -- will deliver the 2010 Black History Month keynote speech at Northwestern University. This year’s celebration theme is “The History of Black Economic Empowerment.”

Roberts is chairman and chief executive officer of The Roberts Companies in St. Louis, Mo. and the author of “Action Has No Season, Strategies and Secrets to Gaining Wealth and Authority.” His book was described in one review as “a must read for leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Roberts will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, in McCormick Auditorium, at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. The topic of his speech is “Now is the Time to Be an Entrepreneur Start-Up.” Free and open to the public, the lecture will be followed by a book-signing reception in the Dittmar Memorial Gallery.

Roberts, a self-made businessman, is a preeminent innovator in business, philanthropy, and corporate and social commitment. With his brother Steven, Roberts created a nearly $900 million empire that encompasses television and radio broadcasting, real estate development, and hotel ownership and management. It includes the largest African-American owned and operated hotel group (Clarion, Comfort Inn, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Radisson and Wyndham).

Born to hardworking middle-class parents and educated in the St. Louis public school system, Roberts worked his way through college and law school. Throughout his career, he has maintained a strong commitment to the African-American community.

With headquarters in the heart of St. Louis, The Roberts Companies have created thousands of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the city, raising the level of economic activity and enhancing the quality of life. Roberts and his brother also have developed hotels and radio stations in low-income areas.

Roberts’ corporate social responsibility initiatives primarily have revolved around improving the prospects of African-American youth.

Roberts serves as the first and only African-American member of the International Council of Shopping Centers Board of Trustees. He is the chairman of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers and a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

His Feb. 23 talk is cosponsored by Northwestern’s Black History Month Committee, Black Management Association (BMA), Kellogg School of Management and Medill School of Journalism.

For more information on this and other Black History month events on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, visit www.northwestern.edu/aasa and click the Black History Month 2010 Online Calendar icon.
Topics: Campus Life