COLUMBIA — Actor Edward James Olmos of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Miami Vice” fame will speak on March 10 at Columbia College as a part of the Schiffman Lecture Series.
His lecture, titled “Ethics in Hollywood,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Launer Auditorium and will be free and open to the public.
Olmos is the next person in a line of well-known individuals who have delivered speeches in the series, including presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough in 2007, TV journalist Soledad O’Brien in 2006, Robert Kennedy, Jr. in 2005, Arun Gandhi in 2004 and former U.S. congressman John Kasich in 2003.
Olmos was chosen as this year’s speaker because of his wide range of talents and commitment to charitable giving.
“This year, we asked about the moral responsibility that a filmmaker has to society,” said Anthony Alioto, professor and Schiffman Endowed Chair in ethics, philosophy and religious studies at Columbia College. “Given the profound influence of movies in our society, including such things as values, we looked for a speaker who not only acted but also directed and produced, and was a community activist outside the profession.”
Olmos has garnered numerous honors for his work, including a Tony Award nomination for his performance in the musical play "Zoot Suit", an Oscar nomination for his role in the film "Stand and Deliver," and a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination for HBO’s documentary "The Burning Season."
Aside from his successful acting career, Olmos has actively participated in giving back to the community.
He created a nationwide multimedia project in 1999 titled "Americanos: Latino Life in the United States." According to a news release, the project celebrated Latino culture through photography, film, music and the printed word. Olmos intended for the project to instill pride in Latino communities and also connect them with others.
Olmos is also involved in a number of humanitarian organizations. He is a U.S. Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the executive director of the Lives in Hazard Education Project, a national program that works to prevent gangs.
According to the Columbia College Web site, the Schiffman Lecture Series was established in 2000 by John A. Schiffman in honor of his late wife, Althea, who served on the Columbia College Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1987.
“It is my hope that through the endowed chair and lecture series, Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to student that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are just as important as intellect,” Schiffman said on the Web site.