Actor, former White House staffer Kal Penn to speak at CMU

The Multicultural Academic Services has invited actor Kal Penn to Central Michigan University as a keynote speaker during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2012.

Penn, 34, is known for his role as Kumar in the "Harold and Kumar" franchise, as well as appearances on "How I Met your Mother" and "House M.D."

Along with his acting background, Penn has been busy working in politics and teaching. After volunteering for President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he held the title of Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 to 2011.

Penn also taught two classes in Asian-Americans pop culture and history of teen movies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Montclair, N.J., native will speak about his acting career at 9 a.m. on March 30 in Moore Hall's Townsend Kiva.

Nancy Eddy, communications and dramatic arts faculty member, said the event will be free to the public, though she hopes students pursuing acting will find the experience useful.

“The event will be close in the Kiva and relaxing for him and the students involved,” Eddy said. “Students will be able to ask more questions and have more dialogue with him.”

Penn is also scheduled to speak again six days later at 7:30 p.m. April 5 in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium in front of a larger audience.

Both events are free.

Penn’s visit to CMU is sponsored by the Multicultral Academic Student Services, King/Chavez/Parks Visiting Professor Program, College of Human and Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Communication and Fine Arts and Residence Life. He is the final of three speakers the CCFA has contributed to help bring to CMU this semester, totaling $3,000 according to CCFA Dean Salma Ghanem.

Penn appeared alongside U.S. Rep. John Dingell at the University of Michigan on Thursday as part of the Young Americans for Obama's Greater Together Student Summit Tour. It is unclear whether his appearances will serve as campaign events.

Denise Green, associate vice president for institutional diversity, was unavailable for comment on Penn's appearance.


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