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Columnist, television personality, and author George F. Will, one of the most widely recognized and widely read writers in the world, will be principal speaker at Lafayette College’s 165th commencement on Saturday, May 20, and will be awarded an honorary Lafayette degree.

Lafayette president Arthur J. Rothkopf said, “I am delighted that George Will will speak to our students and parents at commencement. He is an intelligent and seasoned observer of society and politics in the United States and abroad whose body of work represents a significant and valuable contribution to the nation’s public discourse.”

Will joins a list of distinguished Lafayette commencement speakers in recent years, including Maya Angelou (1999), former President George Bush (1998), French Ambassador Francois Bujon de l’Estang (1997), Bill Cosby (1996), and historian David McCullough (1995). His newspaper column, syndicated nationally since 1974 by The Washington Post Writers Group, appears twice weekly in nearly 500 newspapers. A contributing editor at Newsweek magazine since 1976, he writes a back-page essay twice a month. He also is a television news analyst for ABC News, and been a regular member of ABC’s This Week program on Sunday mornings since 1981. From 1977 to 1984 he was a regular panelist on TV’s Agronsky & Company.

Will won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his newspaper columns, and has received several awards for his Newsweek columns, including a finalist citation in the essays and criticism category of the 1979 National Magazine Awards competition. He was also the recipient of a 1978 National Headliners Award for his “consistently outstanding special features columns” appearing in Newsweek. A column on New York City’s finances earned him a 1980 Silurian Award for editorial writing. In January 1985, The Washington Journalism Review named Will “best writer, any subject.” He was cited among the 25 most influential Washington journalists by the National Journal in 1997.

Will has published six collections of his Newsweek and newspaper columns, The Woven Figure: Conservatism and America’s Fabric (1997), The Leveling Wind: Politics, the Culture & Other News 1990-1994 (1994), Suddenly: The American Idea Abroad and at Home 1986-1990 (1990), The Morning After: American Successes and Excesses 1981-1986 (1986), The Pursuit of Virtue and Other Tory Notions (1982), and The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts (1978).

He has also written three books of political theory, Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992), The New Season: A Spectator’s Guide to the 1988 Election (1987), and Statecraft as Soulcraft (1983).

On the subject of baseball, an abiding passion, Will has authored two books, Bunts: Curt Flood, Camden Yards, Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball, and Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball (1989), which topped national bestseller lists in the No. 1 position for more than two months.

Born in Champaign, Ill., in 1941, Will holds master’s and doctoral degrees in politics from Princeton University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy, and economics from Oxford University in England, where he attended Magdelen College and won its Weldon-Burckhardt Prize. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.

He has taught political philosophy at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University. He served on the staff of U.S.Senator Gordon Allott (R-Colo.) from 1970-72 and was Washington editor of National Review, a leading conservative journal of ideas and political commentary, from 1973-76.

Will was the recipient of the Madison Medal Award from Princeton, the Francis Boyer Award from the American Enterprise Institute, and the William Allen White Award from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He has been awarded honorary degrees by more than a dozen colleges and universities.

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