Meredith Vieira coming to RIC to discuss “Discovering My Azorean Roots,” Oct. 14

Meredith Vieira
Native Rhode Islander, TV journalist, host of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” and former "TODAY" Show co-anchor Meredith Vieira will talk about her Portuguese upbringing and reconnecting with her Azorean roots in a candid conversation as the featured guest at RIC's Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies conference on Friday, Oct. 14, at 9 a.m. in Alger Hall.

The 2-day RIC conference (Oct. 14, 15) will focus on the cultural integration of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants in the U.S. and Canada.

Vieira was born in East Providence, to Mary-Luisa Silveira Vieira and Dr. Edwin Vieira, both first generation Portuguese-Americans. All four of Vieira’s grandparents hailed from the Azores.

“Some studies have suggested that children of immigrants want to forget, but grandchildren have developed a curiosity and want to know more about their background,” said Marie Fraley, director of the institute. “Meredith’s story illustrates the point of the conference.”

At the conference, noteworthy scholars will discuss socio-economic advancement, civic engagement and political participation as they relate to maintaining Portuguese language, custom and ethnic boundaries.

In addition, the results of a new survey that tracked the changes in integration by second, third and fourth generation Portuguese descendants will be examined.

After her talk, Vieira will be presented with the Presidential Medal, bestowed upon individuals of special distinction within the college community.

Vieira began a career in television working as a local reporter and anchor at WJAR-TV in Providence, before making her way to New York.

Vieira has hosted the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” since 2002. She served as "TODAY" co-anchor for five years, from September 2006 to June 2011. She has also contributed to many "Dateline NBC" and NBC News special reports. Prior to joining NBC News, she was moderator of ABC’s "The View" since the show’s inception in 1997. Her tenure at ABC began in 1993 as news division chief correspondent of "Turning Point," which debuted in 1994.

Vieira has been honored with eight Emmys including a Daytime Emmy for best morning newscast for her work on "TODAY."

Conference topics and speakers

The conference is open to the public. Registration is required. Registration fees are:
Early Bird (by Sept 30): Fri. Oct. 14 – $20 / Sat. Oct. 15 – $20 / Fri. & Sat. – $30
Regular (after Oct. 1): Fri., Oct. 14 – $30 / Sat. Oct. 15 – $30 / Fri. & Sat. – $50
Students: RIC Students with ID: No charge but MUST register; Certificates of Attendance available
Friday Evening Sarau: "An Evening with Antonio Oliveira Cruz" - Poetry Reading - No charge

Registration form

For more information, contact Marie Fraley at (401) 456-8496 or