PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill will look at theEvolution in WashingtonThursday (April 2) during West Virginia Universitys David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas lecture series.

Her talk, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Room G20 of Ming Hsieh Hall, will be followed by a reception and book signing.

Ifill is moderator and managing editor ofWashington Weekand senior correspondent forThe NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.She is also frequently asked to moderate debates in national elections, most recently the vice-presidential debate during the 2008 election.

Ifill joined bothWashington WeekandThe NewsHourin 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics.

Before joining PBS , she spent five years at NBC News as chief congressional and political correspondent, and still appears as an occasional roundtable panelist onMeet the Press.

Ifill also worked for The New York Times, where she covered the White House and politics. She also covered national and local affairs for The Washington Post, The Baltimore Evening Sun and The Boston Herald American.

An award-winning journalist, she has received more than a dozen honorary doctorates and several broadcasting excellence awards, including honors from the National Press Foundation, Ebony Magazine, the Radio Television News Directors Association and American Women in Radio and Television.

Ifill is the author ofThe Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,an analysis of the black political structure and its future in American politics. She focuses on leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, Newark, N.J., mayor Cory Booker and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts as she examines the implications of President Obamas election on the strongholds of African-American political power.

Ifills talkalso the 2009 Claude Worthington Benedum Lectureis free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Claude Worthington Benedum Endowment and the Office of the Provost and coordinated by the Distinguished and Chaired Professors of WVU .

The Festival of Ideas lecture series brings prominent speakers to campus each year and is supported in part by the David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas Endowment.

Paleoanthropologist and zoologist Meave Leakey will give the final 2009 Festival presentation,A Look at Evolution from the Basis of Fossil Evidence in Africa,at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 6, in the Mountainlair ballrooms. The event is co-sponsored by DarwinFest. More on the Net: http://festivalofideas.wvu.edu/meave_leakey