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Press Release

Sonia Nazario named as 2011 Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professor

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: October 5, 2011

(Denver, Colo.) —  Continuing a 14-year history of bringing renowned Latino and Latina scholars, artists and community leaders to Metropolitan State College of Denver, this year’s 2011 Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship is award-winning journalist and author Sonia Nazario.

The theme of this year’s professorship, Oct. 18-20, is “Canto y Grito: The Power of the Voice.”

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

In 2003, Nazario's story of a Honduran boy's struggle to find his mother in the U.S., "Enrique's Journey," 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 Association of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence. 

 “While many are quick to choose sides when discussing impersonal facts surrounding America’s immigration debate, Sonia Nazario chose not to judge, but placed herself in harm’s way in order to illustrate the complex human side of the issue,” says Adriann Wycoff, assistant professor of Chicana/o studies and Castro Planning Committee co-chair. “Nazario’s message and courage is not only thought-provoking, but it speaks directly to the goal of the Castro professorship.”

A national bestseller, “Enrique’s Journey” is now required reading for incoming freshmen at dozens of colleges and high schools across the United States. Metro State’s Center for Urban Connections has adopted the book for its annual “One Book/ One Project/ Two Transform” program where students, faculty and staff combine a book discussion with a related service project in the community.

Free community events open to the public include:

Tue., Oct. 18 from 6 – 8:30 p.m.

            La Bienvenida – Welcome Reception

Center for Visual Art

            965 Santa Fe Drive, Denver

Wed., Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Charla y Café: Coffee Chat with Sonia Nazario

9 – 10 a.m. Roger Braun Lounge, Tivoli Student Union, Auraria Campus



Keynote Address and Student Luncheon "Enrique's Journey” and America's Immigration Dilemma

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Emcee, CBS4 Michelle Griego

St. Cajetan’s, Auraria Campus

One Book/One Project/Two Transform discussion of “Enrique’s Journey”

2 – 3 p.m.

Roger Braun Lounge, Tivoli Student Union, Auraria Campus 

Thur., Oct. 20

Journalist Panel Discussion “Perspectives on Communicating Latino/a Issues in Newspapers.”

2 – 3 p.m.

Tattered Cover – LoDo, 1628 16th St., Denver

Sonia Nazario, 2011 Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professor, Metro State

Tina Griego, Denver Post columnist

Chris Fresquez, El Semanario publisher

Ramon Del Castillo, El Semanario guest columnist, Metro State chair and associate professor of Chicana/o Studies

Moderator:  Adriann Wycoff, Metro State assistant professor of Chicana/o Studies

Closing Reception

Closing Remarks: 6 7p.m.

Theater performance of “Enrique’s Journey” 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

            Su Teatro - 721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver  

Most events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For more information and to RSVP visit or contact Mercedes Salazar at 303-556-3124,


About Sonia Nazario and “Enrique’s Journey”
Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. 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 boards of the University of North Texas Mayborn Literary Non-fiction Writers Conference and of Catch the Next, a nonprofit working to double the number of Latinos enrolling in college. She is also on the board of Kids In Need of Defense, a nonprofit launched by Microsoft and Angelina Jolie to provide pro-bono attorneys to unaccompanied immigrant children. For more information visit



About the Castro Distinguished Professorship
The Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship was initiated in 1997 to foster multiculturalism, diversity and academic excellence at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The professorship brings renowned Latina and Latino scholars, artists and leaders of distinction to Metro State to conduct classes, seminars, performances and lectures for students, faculty and the larger Denver community. For more information on Castro’s legacy and Nazario, visit