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Press Releases

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Star Teacher Inaugurates 2003-04 Riall Lecture Series

SALISBURY, MD---Erin Gruwell accomplished what many thought impossible. She helped 150 of her students, many who were written off by the education system, use the power of education to write a book, graduate from high school and attend college.

Gruwell, an award-winning educator who has captured national media attention, speaks as part of Salisbury University’s Riall Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, in Holloway Hall Auditorium.

Her dedication to her students is chronicled in the book Freedom Writers’ Diary—How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. Universal Studios and Jersey Films plan to release a motion picture based on the book in 2004.

Gruwell’s commitment to teaching tolerance and unique vision has won national media attention. Her students have appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, The View, People magazine, National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times and CSPAN’s Book TV.

She is founder and president of the Tolerance Education Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to teaching tolerance and funding college scholarships for underprivileged students. She also created the Ambassadors of Tolerance Tour, which took her class of Freedom Writers to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Anne Frank’s attic in Amsterdam and war-tour Sarajevo. Academy Award nominated filmmakers chronicled the journey and plan a feature-length documentary.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing named her teacher of the year. Her teaching honors include the Spirit of Anne Frank Award, the KNBC Crystal Apple Award, and the Harvard Radcliffe Association Educator Award. She was also named among KCBS’ What’s Right With Southern California and has been selected as one of the University of California, Irvine’s top 10 graduates.

Her lecture at SU is free and the public is cordially invited. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at>

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