To be, or not to be? Distinguished Speaker Series welcomes Janus Adams, Ilyasah Shabazz for “Fireside Chat”

The SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speaker Series will change up its usual format this year, welcoming two exceptional guests to campus for an intergenerational “Fireside Chat” on Monday, Oct. 28.

The event will find New Paltz alumnae Janus Adams ’67, ’18 HON and Ilyasah Shabazz ’85 in dialogue on topics related to the oft-remembered opening lines of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy: “To be, or not to be?”

Adams and Shabazz will explore ideas about how individuals can balance their responsibilities to society and to themselves, especially in times of challenge and change.

All are welcome to attend the fall 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series at SUNY New Paltz on Monday, Oct. 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

Tickets are $10, and advance purchase is recommended. Tickets can be purchased online via this link or by calling the Box Office at (845) 257–3880. There is no charge for current SUNY New Paltz students who present school ID, though there is a limited quantity of free tickets for students.

If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact the event organizer at as soon as possible.

For more information and to reserve tickets, please visit

About the speakers

Janus Adams is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, historian, bestselling author and host of The Janus Adams Show, available as a radio broadcast and podcast.

Adams has dedicated her life to chronicling and promoting civil rights, human rights and social justice, and has enjoyed a long and decorated career as a news commentator and pioneer of issue-oriented African American and women’s programming.

Her recent work includes “About the Latter End of August,” a project commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of Africans brought to enslavement in the Americas.

Adams has been an engaged and distinguished member of the SUNY New Paltz alumni community. She returned to her alma mater in 2017 to deliver a rousing address titled “Know When to Leave the Plantation,” and was recognized with an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree at the May 2018 Commencement exercises.

Ilyasah Shabazz is an inspirational role model and advocate for youth and women empowerment, who has devoted her life to helping others find inner strength and purpose. While she is frequently asked to speak about the legacy of her father, Malcolm X, she often says that it is her mother, Betty Shabazz’s, wisdom, courage and compassion that guide her.

Shabazz is the author of four award-winning publications, and a recipient of an NAACP Image Award. She served as a member of the U.S. Delegation that accompanied President Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate election of President Nelson Mandela and others.

An active SUNY New Paltz alumna, Shabazz most recently shared her experiences and insight with students as a featured guest at the 2018 Women’s Leadership Summit.

About the Distinguished Speaker Series

Now in its 11th successful year, the SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speaker Series is a biannual tradition connecting New Paltz alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members with highly accomplished alumni, authors, policy makers, artists, scientists, media experts, entrepreneurs and other luminaries. SUNY New Paltz received a generous gift from a private donor to initially underwrite a portion of this signature campus program.

The 2019 Distinguished Speaker Series is made possible by the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, Inc., with support from the following sponsors: Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Campus Auxiliary Services, Central Hudson, Henry’s at the Farm, Lola’s Café & Catering, M&T Bank and Sodexo.