LeVar Burton to Receive Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children's Media at Tufts

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – LeVar Burton, actor, entertainer and the host and executive producer of the highly acclaimed PBS children's television series "Reading Rainbow," will be honored at Tufts University's sixth Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children's Media. The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place on February 3 at 10 a.m. in the Distler Performance Hall at the Granoff Music Center on Tufts University's Medford/Somerville campus. Members of the news media who would like to attend and reserve a seat and media credentials should contact Katie Cinnamond at 617-627-4703.

The Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence in Children's Media, cosponsored by the Communications and Media Studies Program (CMS) and the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts, are given to organizations, individuals or companies with a commitment to innovation, diversity, non-violence and developmentally appropriate media. Nominations are made in categories that include television, film, interactive media and media literacy and advocacy.

"For these awards our selection committee looks for individuals in the media who make a real difference in the lives of children," said Julie Dobrow, the director of the CMS program. "LeVar Burton is a natural choice as he is a true children's literary expert. Through his exceptional career he has helped to promote reading comprehension in elementary- school-age children through the medium of television."

Burton was the host and executive producer of "Reading Rainbow" for 26 years and helped create a generation of Americans who are now passionate readers. Over the past three decades he has also proven himself as an accomplished actor, most notably as Geordi LaForge on the "Star Trek" series and as Kunta Kinte in "Roots," and as a director, producer and writer. His latest endeavor is the launch of a new cross-platform media company producing television programs, feature films and original web content. Under this new company, "Reading Rainbow" will return in 2012 as a multi-faceted new media venture.

Previous recipients of the Eliot-Pearson Awards for Excellence include Bill Cosby, actor and bestselling author; Alvin F. Poussaint, psychiatrist, educator and social commentator; Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh and Cathy Galeota, producers of the American animated television series "Dora the Explorer"; Linda Ellerbee and Mark Lyons, executive producers of educational children's and teenagers' television show "Nick News for Kids"; Peggy Charren, founder of activist group Action for Children's Television; and Carol Greenwald, executive producer of the educational television series "Arthur."

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university is widely encouraged.


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