Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas to speak at CU Dec. 11

Published: Nov. 30, 2012

Jose Antonio Vargas- a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, founder of Define American, and an undocumented immigrant- will speak in the University Memorial Center Glenn Miller Ballroom on Tuesday, Dec. 11.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are free for students and community members.  

Vargas is on campus as a guest of the student-run Cultural Events Board. As a journalist for over a decade writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country, Vargas’ personal journey contends with some of the most fascinating stories he’s covered, living a double life since he was 16 years old.

Vargas was born in the Philippines, and moved to America with his mother who desired to give him a better life. At age 16 Vargas discovered his green card was a fake while applying for his driver’s license, and realized he needed to continue hiding his true identity to avoid deportation and to be able to pursue his American dream – a career in journalism.

And succeed he did. Vargas’ accomplishments include a widely circulated profile of Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker, and the title of a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post. He has covered the tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post. He was also part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech which inspired a feature-length documentary — The Other City — that Vargas co-produced and wrote. He has written for daily newspapers such as the Philadelphia Daily News and the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as national magazines including The Rolling Stone and New York. He has appeared on CNN, ABC News and PBS NewsHour.

Despite all of Vargas’ achievements, the dark shadow of his true identity has continued to haunt him. In the summer of 2011, eighteen years after arriving in America, Vargas exposed his story in his groundbreaking essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine, stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage. Today Vargas runs Define American, a non-profit organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration.

For more information contact the Cultural Events Board Speakers Coordinator at speakers.coordinator.ceb@gmail.com. For further information about the Cultural Events Board visit http://www.coloado.edu/ceb.