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‘Dead Man Walking’ Author at TAMIU for Sanchez Lecture Oct. 7
Posted: 10/2/14

TAMIU Sanchez Speaker Series
Features ‘Dead Man Walking’ Author

Sister Helen Prejean, author, death penalty abolitionist and human rights advocate is the featured speaker at the upcoming Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) A. R. Sanchez, Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean

Admission is free and open to the public.

Sister Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions. She travels around the world giving talks about her ministry. She considers herself a Southern storyteller.

A member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Prejean spent her first years with the Sisters teaching religion to junior high school students. After coming to the realization that being on the side of poor people is an essential part of the Gospel, Prejean decided to move into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981 – 1984.

While working at Hope House, she was asked to correspond with death row inmate Patrick Sonnier at Angola prison. Prejean agreed and became his spiritual adviser. After witnessing his execution, she wrote a book about the experience. The result was “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.” It has been adapted into a movie, an opera and a play for high schools and colleges.

Since 1984, Prejean has divided her time between educating people about the death penalty and counseling individual death row prisoners.

Her second book, “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions” was released by Random House in December 2004. She is currently working on another book, “River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.”

TAMIU’s A. R. Sanchez, Sr. Distinguished Lecturer Series honors Antonio R. Sanchez (1916-1992).  After 20 years as the owner of an office equipment business, Sanchez began buying oil and gas leases and used his earnings to establish a bank.

Sanchez, along with his son, A. R. Sanchez, Jr., and geologist Brian O’Brien, established the Sanchez-O’Brien Oil and Gas Corporation.  Under his leadership as chairman, International Bank of Commerce grew to become International Bancshares Corporation, with branches in more than 90 communities throughout Texas and Oklahoma.

A.R. Sanchez, Sr. is best remembered in Laredo for his philanthropic efforts.  Known for his work ethic and generosity, he was a major crusader for a four-year University in Laredo and a supporter of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.  The lecture series is presented through the vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Sanchez, Jr.

For additional information on the A. R. Sanchez, Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series, please contact the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at 326.2460.

Additional information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu