Byron Pitts, co-anchor and author. The Harry T. Wilks Distinguished Lecture Series

Harry T. Wilks Distinguished Lecture Series, 2016

September 14, 2016 • 7 PM • Parrish Auditorium on the Miami Regionals Hamilton campus.

Ticket Information

Update 9/12/16: A few tickets are still available for the 2016 Harry T. Wilks Distinguished Lecture Series presentation by Byron Pitts, and may be picked up at Will Call in the foyer of Parrish Auditorium on the evening of the event.

About Byron Pitts

The 2016 speaker is ABC's Nightline co-anchor and author Byron Pitts, a multiple Emmy award winning journalist known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling.

Pitts’ many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of twelve and had a persistent stutter. Capitalizing on his desire to play football, his mother mandated he receive B’s or above in school in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University.

With the help of his roommate and a college professor, Pitts found the support and encouragement necessary to pursue a career in broadcast journalism—a field that demands excellence in writing and speaking. By staying focused, setting simple and achievable goals and finding strength in faith, Pitts overcame powerful odds. He graduated in 1982 with a BA in Journalism and Speech Communication.

By sharing anecdotes and details of his own personal challenges while growing up, Pitts encourages audiences to strive past struggles to achieve success and challenges us all to be brave enough to “step out on nothing” to help others reach their own goals.

About the Harry T. Wilks Distinguished Lecture Series

The Harry T. Wilks Distinguished Lecture Series on Social Issues and Current Events was endowed by the late Harry T. Wilks, a prominent Hamilton lawyer, businessman, and philanthropist.

Mr. Wilks was a long-time supporter and advocate of education. His generosity resulted in the the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute in Oxford, and the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Scholarship Program, and Distinguished Lecture Series at Miami Hamilton.

Mr. Wilks graduated from Miami University in 1948, going on to earn his law degree from the University of Cincinnati. In a lifetime full of notable accomplishments, he considered some of his “personal bests” to be:

  • building his own home, one of the most famous — if not the most famous — underground homes in the country;
  • establishing Hamilton as the “City of Sculpture,” including his fully-realized dream of an outdoor sculpture museum, the internationally known Pyramid Hill;
  • serving as a longtime, active member of the Board of Directors, Cincinnati Opera;
  • and finally, being named to Miami University’s Board of Trustees in 2008.

In his retirement, Mr. Wilks pursued extensive worldwide travel in addition to his philanthropic ventures.

It was with great sadness that Miami University's regional locations noted the passing of Harry T. Wilks, Hamilton lawyer and businessman, on March 11, 2014, his 89th birthday.