WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Earvin "Magic Johnson," one of the most universally recognized ambassadors for the game of the basketball, will speak at UNCW's Trask Coliseum on Oct. 11, 2012, to kick off the Wilma Daniels Distinguished Lecture series.
Johnson, 53, grew up in Lansing, Mich., and starred at Michigan State, where he carried the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA Championship over close friend and rival Larry Bird. Johnson left after two years and embarked on a professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers that ended up with the smiling point guard being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history and enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Daniels, a member of the UNCW Board of Trustees, made a gift to the university to help fund an initial year of programming for the Wilma Daniels Distinguished Lecture Promoting Diversity & Tolerance. The gift will fund the appearance of Johnson, who will focus his talk on building a successful life, overcoming challenges and achieving personal goals
The public is invited to attend the free event, but tickets will be required. UNCW will be working with local schools and youth groups to bring in several hundred middle school students to hear Johnson's encouraging message.
"UNCW has excellent initiatives related to diversity and tolerance, which this new lecture will build upon and strengthen," Daniels said during a news conference at the Burney Center. "I wanted to work with the university to bring someone to campus to inspire young people, and to forge deeper relationships between the local African-American community and the campus."
The Daniels Lecture will be part of a week-long celebration of diversity, including numerous cultural and educational events.
"This lecture reflects our university's sustaining values," said Chancellor Gary L. Miller. "As an institution, UNCW is dedicated to the journey of learning, including the great diversity of culture and ethnicities of humankind, a love of place-especially this community, and a commitment to ideas and innovation. These values are supported when we bring in guest speakers to share their ideas and perspectives with the community."
Tickets to the Magic Johnson lecture will be available starting Sept. 24 at the Athletics Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum. Tickets must be picked up in person during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and there is a maximum of four tickets per person.