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2023 Conference Speakers

2023 Keynote Speaker
Tony Norman

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The Northeast Regional Honors Council is excited to announce Tony Norman as our 2023 Keynote Speaker!


Tony Norman is an award-winning columnist and feature writer. After 34 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he also served as a member of the newspaper's editorial board from 1999-2016, Tony left to write columns for NEXTpittsburgh, a hyper-local news website. He will debut a podcast on that platform in January 2023.


Mr. Norman's work has garnered both local and national awards, including a one-year Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan in 2005-2006. He  taught journalism at Chatham University from 2002-2018.

Mr. Norman recently served as the president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He is the current chair of the International Free Expression Project (IFEP), which "works with with artists, activists, storytellers, innovators, teachers, organizations and people of all types and at all levels of society to encourage creative expression and amplify the message that, if you stand by when someone else is silenced, you too may be silenced one day."


Tony Norman was a political science major at Calvin University where he spent an unhealthy amount of time working on the student newspaper as a cartoonist and controversial movie reviewer.

2023 Author Talk: Brian Broome

“Black, dark, queer, and poor. Brian Broome, literary son of the Black modernist giant Gwendolyn Brooks, writes from the center as one declared wrong among the wronged, one cast out of those cast aside, and one who desperately seeks tenderness.”

—Imani Perry

“Furious and dazzling, poetic and gritty.”

—R. Eric Thomas

Brian Broome, poet and screenwriter, is the author of Punch Me Up to the Gods (Mariner Books, 2021), which won the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and Publisher Triangle’s Randy Shifts Award for Nonfiction. The memoir introduces Broome whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys and propels forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut. Broome’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. But it is Broome’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams. Cleverly framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool,” the iconic and loving ode to Black boyhood, Punch Me Up to the Gods is at once playful, poignant, and wholly original. Broome’s writing brims with swagger and sensitivity, bringing an exquisite and fresh voice to ongoing cultural conversations about Blackness in America.

About Broome’s debut, Kiese Laymon writes, “Punch Me Up to the Gods obliterates what we thought were the limitations of not just the American memoir, but the possibilities of the American paragraph. I’m not sure a book has ever had me sobbing, punching the air, dying of laughter, and needing to write as much as Brian Broome’s staggering debut.” Augusten Burroughs notes, “This is some of the finest writing I have ever encountered and one of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you—have ever read. And you will read it; you must read it. It contains everything we all crave so deeply: truth, soul, brilliance, grace. It is a masterpiece of a memoir and Brian Broome should win the Pulitzer Prize for writing it. I am in absolute awe and you will be, too.”

Broome has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019.

City as Text Speaker:
Dr. Tom Morton

Architecture, especially its history, is Thomas Morton’s passion.


Thomas earned his undergraduate degree in Art History with Honors and High Distinction at Penn State University and earned his Ph.D. in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Combining, architectural history and archaeology, he tends to focus on ancient Roman architecture and urbanism in North Africa in his scholarship.


His teaching experience is much broader; he has taught the history of architecture from prehistory to the present day from a global perspective, and his teaching has garnered numerous teaching awards. In 2009 the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the American Institute of Architecture Students jointly recognized him as a national educator of the year. In addition, in 2011, the Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects selected him as Educator of the Year. He has been teaching since 2003 and arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 2017. At Pitt, Thomas is a Teaching Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and serves as the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Lastly, Thomas Morton has an active commitment to service, both at the local and national levels. He served two terms as the national Vice President for Societies of the Archaeological Institute of America where he oversaw 117 local archaeological societies. Through his work with the Archaeological Institute and other organizations, Thomas has a strong commitment to public-facing humanities projects.

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