MSNBC Host Highlights Blackburn Institute’s 20th Anniversary Symposium

  • August 12th, 2014
Joe Scarborough
Joe Scarborough

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and University of Alabama alumnus, will speak at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in the Moody Music Building Concert Hall on the UA campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will highlight the 20th anniversary symposium of UA’s Blackburn Institute. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Scarborough, who graduated from UA in 1985, co-hosts “Morning Joe” with Mika Brzezinski. In 2011, he was named to the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people.

In describing Scarborough’s selection, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Joe speaks without fear … he puts his country before his party …  . That independence makes him a valuable voice in American politics, and it’s what makes ‘Morning Joe’ such a successful show.”

Before “Morning Joe,” he was the host of “Scarborough Country” on MSNBC and “The Joe Scarborough Show” on WABC Radio.

Scarborough was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1994; he was the first Republican Representative from Florida since 1872. He served on the Judiciary, Armed Services, Government Reform and Oversight, Education and the Workforce and National Security committees.

In 1998, he was named chairman of the Civil Service Committee and drafted a bill on long-term care that President Bill Clinton called “landmark legislation.” Scarborough retired from Congress in 2001. He earned a law degree from The University of Florida College of Law in 1990.

He is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics — and Can Again,” “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day” and “The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise.” He also founded the Florida Sun, an award-winning weekly newspaper for which he served as editor and publisher.

The late Dr. John L. Blackburn
The late Dr. John L. Blackburn

The symposium runs from Friday, Aug. 22, to Saturday, Aug. 23. In addition to Scarborough’s talk, the institute will include a symposium on Alabama literature led by Rick Bragg, professor of writing at UA, at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Hotel Capstone as well as other panels about Alabama culture and the media.

Founded in 1994, The Blackburn Institute is developing a network of leaders — the Blackburn Fellows — who have a clear understanding of the challenges that face the state of Alabama. The institute provides the fellows opportunities to explore issues and identify strategic actions that will improve the quality of life for Alabama and the nation.

Each year, approximately 25 students are selected to join the institute after an extensive nomination, application and interview process. During the selection process, the Blackburn Institute focuses on identifying students who are most interested in community improvement. When they graduate, these students earn the title of Blackburn Fellow.

The institute assists its fellows by providing continued development and support as well as networking opportunities to fulfill the institute’s ideals.

The current Blackburn Fellows
The current Blackburn Fellows

The Blackburn Institute is named in honor of  the late Dr. John L. Blackburn. A nationally renowned leader in higher education, Blackburn served as dean of students at UA and was instrumental in the University’s peaceful integration.

In 1994, UA’s Division of Student Affairs formed the institute to foster Blackburn’s belief that people link strategic actions through the generations for progressive and ethical change.

For a detailed history of the institute, go to


Mary Lee Caldwell, assistant director, Blackburn Institute, 205/348-9189,


Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205///348-3782

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.