Each year a commentator and/or humorist--including John Irving, Tom Wolfe, Sarah Vowell, Gail Collins, and David Sedaris--has been chosen to deliver this lecture. Teresa Quinn, executive director of campus activities, noted that the choice of Rich was because of "his compelling and unique perspective on the cross section of the news, politics, and media culture."
About Frank RichAn op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Frank Rich's weekly 1,500-word essay helped inaugurate the expanded opinion pages that Times introduced in April 2005 for the "Sunday Week in Review." He began as a columnist for the Op-Ed page in January 1994 and began writing longer-form essays for the page in 1999. From 1999 - 2003 he was a senior writer for the New York Times Magazine, a dual title that was the first for the Times. Prior to becoming a columnist, Rich was the Times chief drama critic beginning in 1980. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the front-page columnist for the Sunday "Arts & Leisure" section as part of that section’s redesign and expansion. He also served in an advisory role in the revamping of Times’s daily and Sunday cultural report during that time.
Among other honors, Rich received the George Polk Award for commentary in 2005. In addition to his work at the Times, he has written about politics and culture for many other publications. His books include The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush’s America; the childhood memoir Ghost Light; a collection of his drama reviews, Hot Seat: Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980-1993; and The Theatre Art of Boris Aronson, co-authored with Lisa Aronson.
Before joining the Times, Rich was a film and television critic at Time magazine. Earlier, he had been film critic for The New York Post and film critic and senior editor of New Times Magazine. He was a founding editor of The Richmond (Va.) Mercury, a weekly newspaper, in the early 1970s. In May 2008, Rich signed on as a creative consultant to help initiate and develop new programming at the pay-TV network HBO.
Rich earned a B.A. degree in American History and Literature, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1971 and serving as editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson. He has two sons and lives in Manhattan with his wife, the author and novelist Alex Witchel, who is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.
About the Alex Krieger '95 Memorial LectureThis annual lecture series is given each spring in memory of a Vassar student, Alex Krieger, who was killed in an automobile accident during the spring of his freshman year. One of Krieger’s keenest interests was distinguished American writing that incorporates humor as a primary element. In consultation with his family, Vassar has invited outstanding American writers and humorists as such Tom Wolfe, Wendy Wasserstein, John Irving, P. J. O’Rourke, Calvin Trillin, Jules Fieffer, Oliver Sacks, Tony Kushner, David Sedaris, Michael Chabon, Sarah Vowell, Gail Collins, and most recently Augesten Burroughs.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.