BET executive on campus this week

As part of Mississippi State's observance of Black History Month, Black Entertainment Television executive Paxton Baker will share his vast business knowledge and experience Thursday with university students and members of the campus and local communities.

Baker is executive vice president and general manager of CENTRIC (formerly BET Jazz), a complementary network targeting African American and multicultural adults. The California native also is president of BET Event Productions, which organizes music festivals, TV specials and concerts throughout the world. Additionally, he is founding partner and minority owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team.

He will lead three programs that include:

--A 9:30 a.m. address and question-and-answer session on current topics with students in political science, business, sociology, and African-American studies in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium;

--A similar program at 1:15 p.m., this time with communication, art and honors programs students in room 100 of Hand Lab; and

--A 2 p.m. presentation for general audiences titled "Embracing the Challenge of Changing Times and Changing Environments: Becoming a Global Leader" in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium.

Baker is chairman of the Viacom Marketing Council and leads more than 35 senior marketing and sales executives across all properties of Viacom, the world's leading entertainment content company. In addition to the BET Networks, these include the MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures.

Prior to joining BET, Baker was president and founder of PKB Arts & Entertainment, producing and booking talent for international music festivals, as well as tours for such performers as Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, and Wynton Marsalis. As general manager of CENTRIC, Baker has led programming initiatives that garnered numerous awards, including 15 Tellys, a local Emmy, and a National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications award for the show "My Two Cents."

He serves as chairman of the U.S. Congressional Award and sits on the boards of the U.S. Senate Preservation Board of Trustees and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

For other information on Baker's visit, contact Ra'Sheda Boddie of the sponsoring MSU Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at 325-2033 or

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