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USM to host author and Walgreens' diversity executive Steve Pemberton

Steve Pemberton photo

The University of Southern Maine will host author and Walgreens' chief diversity officer Steve Pemberton on Oct. 2.

He is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. in Hannaford Hall on the Portland campus. He will be joined by USM President Glenn Cummings, who will be making an exciting announcement about the university's commitment to disadvantaged youth.

The talk is free. If you wish to attend, please register at the USM Foundation website

Pemberton's talk is titled "Every Big Dream Starts Somewhere."

The executive grew up in the foster care system in New Bedford, Massachusetts and became a model of re-invention. Despite a brutal childhood, he managed to earn a college degree, build a family and become a sought-after executive. He currently works as vice president and chief diversity officer with Walgreens Boots Alliance.

With that company — the result of a 2014 merger between Walgreens and Europe's Boots Alliance — Pemberton works to build a diverse, forward-looking corporate culture.

"Diversity is less about how we look than what unique experiences we have had and what talents and ideas each of us are willing to invest in achieving success, together," said Pemberton in a Walgreens Boots Alliance report.

Pemberton chronicled his childhood in the best-selling memoir, "A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home."

The 2012 book, which has been made into a feature film, follows his story as he seeks rescue from a foster home and tries to find his parents.

Prior to to his work for Walgreens, Pemberton was chief diversity officer and vice president of diversity and inclusion at

In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the U.S. Congress, presented to individuals from private sectors who have contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions, and who have set exceptional examples for young people through their successes in life.

Pemberton's appearance is being co-hosted by the USM Foundation and the USM Convocation Steering Committee, which is leading a year-long series of events on race and participatory democracy.

This event is free and open to the public. For ticketing information and to reserve your spot, visit