Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Alumni

November 7, 2011

Distinguished Ball State alumnus David Letterman, host of CBS's "Late Show," will return to his alma mater on Friday, Dec. 2, to host a conversation with Rachel Maddow at 4 p.m. in Emens Auditorium. The conversation is part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, established by the university in 2008.

Maddow's MSNBC prime-time hit "The Rachel Maddow Show" will be broadcast live from the Ball State campus that evening. The program features her take on the biggest stories of the day, political and otherwise, including lively debate with guests from all sides of the issues, in-depth analysis and stories not found on other cable news programs.

The show's September 2008 debut was the most successful launch in MSNBC history, immediately boosting ratings in its time slot, and was named one of the top shows of the decade by The Washington Post in 2009.  Maddow herself was named a "Breakout Star of 2008" by The Washington Post; The Los Angeles Times named her among the "Best of Television 2008"; and she was named one of the "Top Ten Political Newcomers of 2008" by

"The Letterman lecture series has come to be known for distinctive encounters with today's most impressive thought leaders," said President Jo Ann M. Gora. "Rachel Maddow is emerging as one of the most thought provoking political commentators in the nation. I'm confident that this conversation will challenge our students to think critically about their roles as today's voters and tomorrow's leaders. We are grateful to Dave for his generous support of the university and his ongoing engagement and participation in the series. His direct participation has made this unique opportunity possible."

In 2007, Ball State dedicated its new $21 million communication and media building in Letterman's honor, in what Gora described as a "public demonstration of our admiration and respect for such an accomplished and loyal alumnus." The late-night TV host and his mother, Dorothy Mengering, participated in the dedication ceremony, with Letterman praising the facility and its leading-edge studios and equipment as "the future of communication."

On Sept. 17, 2010, Letterman hosted a conversation with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone at Ball State.

Letterman's ongoing relationship with Ball State includes his funding of annual $10,000, $5,000 and $3,333 scholarships for three telecommunications students in the College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) who submit a short film, screenplay, series of storyboards or other creative project in order to qualify for one of the much sought-after awards.

More about Rachel Maddow

"The Rachel Maddow Show" received a News and Documentary Emmy Award for discussion and analysis in 2011 and has been nominated by the Television Critics Association for "Outstanding Achievement in News and Information." Maddow was honored by the Interfaith Alliance with the 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award and her MSNBC documentary "The Assassination of Dr. Tiller" won a Gracie Award in 2011.

Maddow was named MSNBC political analyst in January of 2008. She first gained national prominence as a host on Air America Radio, where she worked from its inception in 2004. Prior to joining AAR, she worked for WRNX in Holyoke, Mass., and WRSI in Northampton, Mass.

Maddow received a bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University. She earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.