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Marc Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans, will be a special guest of Old Dominion University on Thursday, April 21.

The Urban League of Hampton Roads will hold its annual Whitney M. Young Dinner that night at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth and Morial will be the guest speaker, discussing empowering communities and changing lives nationwide.

From 9-9:45 a.m. in the Webb University Center Board of Visitors Conference Room, Morial will discuss "A Big City's Struggle with Unfunded Federal Mandates" and field questions from faculty and students. The general public is invited.

From 10-10:45 a.m., ODU faculty members Joshua Behr and David Earnest will make a presentation and lead an interdisciplinary discussion on segregation modeling simulation. Morial will be present, along with representatives from ODU's academic colleges.

The Urban League is is working to close the equality gaps income, equity and opportunity for African Americans and other people of color. The five critical areas to close the equality gaps are: education, economic development, health and quality of life, civic engagement and social justice.

Prior to being selected to lead this venerable organization, Morial briefly practiced law after leaving office, having served two distinguished 4-year terms as Mayor of New Orleans from 1994-2002. During that time, he also served as President of the United States Conference of Mayors in 2001 and 2002.

As New Orleans' chief executive, he was one of the most popular and effective Mayors in the City's history, leaving office with a 70% approval rating. After being elected as one of the youngest mayors in the city's history, crime plummeted by 60%, a corrupt Police Department was reformed, new programs for youth were started, and a stagnant economy was re-energized. Under his watch, 7,000 new hotel rooms were added, and 15,000 new homeowners resulted from his progressive and innovative programs. In his final months in office, he orchestrated the return of the NBA to New Orleans, with the relocation of the Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Since assuming the helm of the National Urban League, Morial has worked to re-energize the movements' diverse constituencies by building on the strength's of the nearly one hundred year old organization. He has done so, while working hard to increase the organization's profile both locally and nationally. As President, Morial has worked to streamline the structure and organization of the movement's corporate headquarters, permanently establishing six departments within the organization, identifying and securing millions of dollars in new funding to support the League's various initiatives and dramatically increasing public awareness of the good work and name of the National Urban League through regular media appearances with various media outlets, a weekly newspaper column entitled "To Be Equal," as well as a widely distributed radio commentary by the same name.

For more information, call 683-3935.

This article was posted on: April 13, 2005

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.