Leon Dash

Swanlund/Center for Advanced Study Professor of Journalism, African-American Studies, and Law

University of Illinois

Leon Dash, Swanlund/Center for Advanced Study Professor of Journalism, African-American Studies and Law, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist with extensive experience in domestic and international reporting. Professor Dash joined the Washington Post in 1965 and, following a two-year leave of absence as a Peace Corps high school teacher in Kenya from 1966-68, returned to an award-winning 30-year career that included living with and reporting on Angolan guerrillas, serving as West Africa bureau chief, and working at the newspaper's investigative desk.

Professor Dash won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for his series "Rosa Lee's Story," on a family trapped in the urban underclass that became the basis for his award-winning book, Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America. He also earned an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a documentary series and, in 1999, New York University's journalism department selected the "Rose Lee's Story" series as one of the best 100 works in 20th century American journalism.

Professor Dash joined the Illinois faculty as a professor in Journalism and Afro-American studies in 1998 and is currently a Center for Advanced Study Professor. He is working on a book on the survival mechanisms of African Americans who settled in nearby Mattoon after the Civil War. In September 2009, Professor Dash was named director of the University's prestigious Center for Advanced Study.