"Election 2008: The Highest Stakes"
Columnist and associate editor, The Washington Post; commentator for MSNBC
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Free and open to the public
EUGENE ROBINSON is a columnist and associate editor of The Washington Post and a commentator for MSNBC. His twice-weekly column on The Post’s Op-Ed page was launched in February 2005, and within a year it was being syndicated to more than 130 newspapers – making it, by far, the fastest-growing column in the history of the Washington Post Writers Group. Robinson’s essays on politics, culture and events have helped shape the debate on issues such as the war in Iraq, the limits of presidential power and the rebuilding of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. He is a regular commentator on NBC’s award-winning “Meet the Press” and also appears frequently on MSNBC, CNN and other media outlets. In January 2006, barely twelve months after the column’s debut, The Post’s editors honored Robinson’s work by nominating his columns for the Pulitzer Prize.
A 26-year veteran of The Post, Robinson was born and raised in Orangeburg, S.C. He was educated at Orangeburg High School, where he was one of a handful of black students on the previously all-white campus; and the University of Michigan, where during his senior year he was the first black student to be named co-editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.
Robinson began his journalism career at the San Francisco Chronicle, covering such stories as the circus-like trial of kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. He joined The Washington Post in 1980 as city hall reporter, covering the first term of Washington’s larger-than-life mayor, Marion Barry. He became an assistant city editor in 1981, and in 1984 was promoted to city editor, in charge of the paper’s coverage of the District of Columbia. During the 1987-88 academic year, on leave from The Post, Robinson was a Neiman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, where he studied Latin American history and politics and the Spanish language.
On his return to the paper he was named The Post’s South America correspondent, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a post he held from 1988 to 1992. Subsequently he was London bureau chief 1992 to 1994, before returning to Washington to become The Post’s foreign editor. That same year he was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations.
In January 1999, Robinson became an assistant managing editor of The Post, in charge of the groundbreaking Style section, which during his tenure won two Pulitzer Prizes and two Missouri Lifestyle Awards as the best newspaper feature section in the nation. His appointment as associate editor and columnist became effective January 1, 2005.
In January 2008, Robinson became a political analyst and commentator for MSNBC. He appears several times a week on MSNBC shows including “Hardball,” “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and “The Race for the White House,” and has been a regular contributor to the network’s coverage of the presidential campaign.
Robinson is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and has received numerous journalism awards. He is the author of two books: Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race (Free Press, 1999); and Last Dance in Havana (Free Press, 2004). Robinson is married, has two sons, and lives in Arlington, Virginia.
About The J. Roderick Davis Lectures
J. Roderick Davis is a 1958 graduate of Samford University (then Howard College). After graduation, he received advanced degrees in English and theology from Boston, Yale, and Columbia universities, followed by more than two decades of teaching in universities in New Jersey and New York. In 1990, he was chosen by his alma mater to come back as the Dean of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In his eleven years in that office, he helped enlarge the College faculty by thirty percent, created individual departments in Geography, Political Science, Philosophy, and Classics, and directed the streamlining and re-focusing of the university’s nationally-recognized core curriculum.
When Dean Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues decided to honor him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and activists in areas of interest to students in the Arts and Sciences.
Previous Davis Lecturers and topics include:
2007 - Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe: "Einstein's Creativity"
2006 – Dr. Juan Hernandez, President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement: “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”
2005 – Dr. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College: “The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global”
2004 – Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School: “Democracy and Human Dignity”
2003 – Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute: “The Future of Cancer: Progress with a Purpose”
2002 – Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute: “Leadership in Conflict”
The Wright Center (building no. 6 on this map) is located on Montague Drive on the southern side of Samford University's campus. When entering campus from the main Samford entrance, off of Lakeshore Drive, take a left onto Montague Drive.