Suarez to Speak at University

Ray Suarez, “PBS News Hour” senior correspondent and host of “Destination Casa Blanca,” is this semester’s distinguished speaker.

Ray Suarez, “PBS News Hour” senior correspondent and host of “Destination Casa Blanca,” will be the latest lecturer in SUNY New Paltz’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Suarez will speak on the role media plays in disasters and how Sept. 11 changed the media culture in America on Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Athletic and Wellness Center.

“He is an experienced journalist with international experience, which should be of interest to our many communications majors,” Executive Director of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Sally J. Cross said.

Suarez, who has over 30 years of experience in the news industry, will be SUNY New Paltz’s sixth guest in the Distinguished Speakers Series, which has been hosting two guests a year since 2008.

Suarez currently hosts “America Abroad,” a monthly foreign affairs radio program for Public Radio International and “Destination Casa Blanca” on Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network, HITN TV.

The journalist was chosen to speak to coincide with the Institute of Disaster Mental Health’s (IDMH) annual conference being held this year. The conference, titled “Lessons From Adversity: Strengthening Preparedness with Reflections From 9/11,” will be held at New Paltz on April 7 to 8 and according to Cross a major theme of the conference this year will be a focus on the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Suarez was chosen because he could address how the media culture changed after 9/11 and this topic would be a good tie in with the IDMH conference and its attendees,” Special Events Coordinator Lisa Sandick said.

Cross agreed and said she believed Suarez’s experience reporting 9/11 and other disasters would fit well into the IDMH conference.

“His experience reporting on disaster issues and how the media approaches is certainly of interest to the participants in the IDMH program,” Cross said.

During his career, Suarez also worked with National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, ABC Radio Network as well as other American and British news services and has worked on documentaries for public radio and television.

Suarez has written multiple novels, his most recent being, “The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith In America.” The novel examines the relationship between religion and American politics and the recent tightening that has taken place.

According to the Distinguished Speakers website, the goal of the series is “to connect community members, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and their families with well-known authors, policy makers and leaders, scientists, media experts, business people and other luminaries, on our campus.”

Both Cross and Sandick said the series is funded through corporate sponsors, local businesses and ticket sales, although New Paltz students are able to attend for free.

Tickets can be purchased on or by calling 845-257-3880.