Cornel West, philosopher and activist, to visit campus for Black History Month


Special to The Prospector

On Feb. 7, renowned philosopher, scholar and activist Cornel West will be delivering a presentation at the Magoffin Auditorium to celebrate Black History Month.

Luis Barrio, Staff reporter

Renowned philosopher, scholar and activist Cornel West will be delivering a presentation Feb. 7 at the Magoffin Auditorium to celebrate Black History Month.

West is a Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in just three years. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton.

With 2014 being the biggest year for the university since it first opened its doors in 1914, UTEP wants to bring prominent figures to campus.

West was invited to campus through a partnership with Lola Productions that began more than 15 years ago.

“West is someone that we wanted to bring for a long time,” Jorge Vazquez, executive director of Special Events at UTEP said. “He talks about issues very related to the African American culture. He brings very unique views and we thought he would be a great fit for 2014—being the centennial of the University. He’s a great addition to the 2014 lineup.”

Joseph Ulatowski, visiting assistant professor of philosophy at UTEP, spoke about West and how his visit and can further shine a light on the diversity of campus.

“UTEP is far more diverse than any other university which I’ve been in,” Ulatowski said. He said that his visit is a way for UTEP to capitalize even further on its “diversity image.”

Ulatowski taught at the University of Mississippi in the early 2000s and said that West visited the honors program because the school was focusing on becoming a more diverse University at the time.

“In UTEP’s case, the diversity thing is there, now what do you do to capitalize on that?” Ulatowski said. “We as a University are exemplifying what everyone else wants to be. Maybe that’s the message that we will get out of it.”

Very few students around campus were familiar with West and were unaware about his visit.

“Its not very hard to believe,” Ulatowski said. “Unless they are these celebrities that are always on TV or on the radio, people don’t know who you are.”

This will be West’s first presentation at UTEP. Tickets are available for $53 on

“I’m excited about his visit. He is someone who garners a lot of attention independent of the university setting and that is a great accomplishment for any philosopher,” Ulatowski said.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]