The Honorable Cory A. Booker, 42, mayor of Newark, N.J., will speak at West Virginia University on Feb. 7 as part of the David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas.

His talk, Bridging the Divide: The Strengths and Challenges of Diversity in America, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. It’s co-sponsored by the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research.

In his two terms as mayor, Booker has set an ambitious agenda for Newark and, in the process, fashioned a national standard for urban transformation. He and his administration, together with the City’s residents, have more than doubled the rate of affordable housing production, undertaken a massive expansion of parks and recreation spaces, brought more than $1 billion of new economic development into the City and instituted sweeping education reform and crime-reduction efforts.

Brands such as Panasonic, Manischewitz and have relocated their national and international headquarters to Newark, while the city’s economic development corporation has created a business loan fund that has helped more than 50 local businesses start or expand. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has donated $100 million to the Newark school system.

These successes, along with Booker’s hands-on governance – he once pulled a resident from a burning building – landed him on the 2011 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Booker received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Arts in modern history at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and his law degree at Yale University.

Booker’s talk is free and open to the public. Those who are unable to attend can still join the conversation on Twitter at #wvuideas. For more information, visit

Festival of Ideas was created in 1995 by former University president, David C. Hardesty Jr. It was inspired by events he organized as WVU’s student body president in the 1960s. Today, the lecture series is organized by the Office of University Events and brings key figures from politics, business, research, entertainment, sports and the arts to campus throughout the academic year.

Arrangements for the appearance of Cory Booker were made through Greater Talent Network, Inc., New York, N.Y.



CONTACT: Liz Dickinson; Office of University Events

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