WMU News

Comedian Geri Jewell headlines diversity event

May 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The woman who gained fame as Cousin Geri on NBC's "The Facts of Life" will speak to employees of five Kalamazoo organizations later this week.

Geri Jewell will be the featured speaker for "Respecting Differences 2002: Opening Doors," a collaborative diversity event sponsored by Western Michigan University, the city of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo College and Community Mental Health. Jewell will give three 90-minute presentations in Chenery Auditorium, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29 and at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30. Disability awareness is the focus of this year's event, the fourth in an annual series.

The program is free and open to the 5,500 employees of the partner organizations, and supervisors are being encouraged to grant leave time for those who want to attend. All WMU employees will automatically receive tickets in the mail. Tickets are required for admission.

Jewell has gained fame as an actress, comedian, motivational speaker and trainer. She is known to millions for her role as Cousin Geri on "The Facts of Life." The first person with a visible disability--cerebral palsy--to regularly perform on national television, Jewell broke new ground by addressing issues of disability awareness. Today, she speaks to groups and organizations around the world, as well as performing on the national comedy circuit. Recently featured on "Entertainment Tonight," Jewell has been featured in comedy specials on A&E and VH1, and appeared in several films and scores of television shows.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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