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Sidney Poitier to address UCR dinner

Sidney Poitier to address UCR dinner

(March 23, 2001)

Sidney Poitier, a major film star for over five decades, will headline the 2001 University of California, Riverside Chancellor's Associates Spring Gala Friday, March 23, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Rancho Mirage.

Poitier will be featured at the black-tie gala held to honor university donors who contribute to the continuing success of the campus. Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach will present Poitier with the Chancellor's Medal, the highest honor bestowed by UCR on a private citizen. Past recipients of the award have included Elizabeth Dole, Bob and Dorothy Hope and Ely R. Callaway, founder and chairman of Callaway Golf Company.

UCR is celebrating "The Year of the Arts," with the opening of a new building in May and Poitier is a role model for artists of all kinds. His work in films such as "Lilies of the Field," "The Defiant Ones," "To Sir with Love," and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" show his determination to seek out meaningful material. He is also a director of movies such as "Uptown Saturday Night" and "Stir Crazy." His work is significant for it breadth and depth, for its sheer acting brilliance, and for the way it forced America to examine racial prejudice.

As a private citizen, he has worked for causes such as the Children's Defense Fund, the Children's Diabetes Center and the Carter Center to the Urban League.

As a public citizen, Poitier serves as ambassador to Japan for the commonwealth of the Bahamas. Among his honors is a knighthood, bestowed in 1968 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, II. He has received lifetime achievement awards from the American Film Institute, the Kennedy Center, and The Screen Actors Guild; five NAACP Image Awards; and the 1958 Best Actor Oscar for his performance in "Lilies of the Field."

The Chancellor's Associates Gala was founded as the Chancellor's Executive Roundtable in 1988 to create a partnership between the university and the business and civic leadership of Southern California. Previous speakers have included President Gerald Ford, British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, General Colin Powell, Steve Forbes, Elizabeth Dole, and others.

More than 400 are expected to attend the dinner.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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