Indiana University graduate and television personality Tavis Smiley will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jay Leno and Larry King will be among those speaking at this month's ceremony.

April 8, 2014

News Release

Bloomington, Ind. — Television personality and Indiana University graduate Tavis Smiley will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A ceremony featuring remarks by celebrities Jay Leno and Larry King will mark the unveiling of the star April 24 at the landmark near the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine.

“Life is more about moments than milestones,” Smiley said. “The star is a milestone, but the precious moments I spent in preparation at IU will be forever cherished.”

The Walk of Fame is owned by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “Tavis Smiley is an inspiration to our generation and future leaders. He continues to deliver entertainment, advocacy and politics with his honest conversations,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. “His fans will be glad to see Tavis join our Walk of Fame family,” Gubler said in a statement released by the chamber.

It is the latest achievement in a journey that has taken Smiley from his youth in rural Indiana to a degree at IU to international fame as a broadcaster, author and activist. One of 10 children, Smiley graduated from Maconaquah High School near Kokomo. He arrived at IU Bloomington with an admission letter, a suitcase and a few dollars in his pocket. He thrived at IU and earned a degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington. Smiley has endowed a scholarship for SPEA students and has been named the school's Most Distinguished Alumnus, SPEA's highest honor.

Smiley is the host of the late-night television talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS, as well as “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International. He has authored 16 books, including the New York Times bestseller “What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America.” “Death of a King: The Real Story of the Last Year in the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” is forthcoming in September.

Smiley also wrote the foreword in the recent book “America's Poor and the Great Recession” by SPEA Dean John D. Graham and former IU professor Kristin S. Seefeldt. He has been an outspoken advocate of improved government programs that fight poverty and has put his own resources to work on behalf of the poor, creating the Tavis Smiley Foundation to provide leadership training and development for young people.

The foundation recently launched Ending Poverty: America's Silent Spaces, a four-year national initiative to examine barriers and identify solutions to reduce hardship among our most vulnerable citizens. As part of the initiative, Smiley will embark on a series of town halls across the country, beginning June 26 in Los Angeles.

For more information, to see who else has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and to view a live stream of the star ceremony on April 24, visit

Source; Indiana University

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