Pulitzer Prize winner to speak at MC Thursday

Marietta College will observe the 178th anniversary of its charter and continue this year’s theme of “Leadership and Social Justice” Thursday with a speech by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson at its Founder’s Day celebration.

Robinson, a longtime Washington Post columnist and political commentator who has appeared on shows like “Hardball” and “Meet the Press,” won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008 for his columns on the election of the first African-American president.

“We’re trying to use this as an opportunity to engage the entire campus community,” said Mark Miller, the college’s associate provost.

Miller said some professors have incorporated Robinson’s writing into their courses and are encouraging students to attend Thursday’s presentation and discuss it in class. In addition, some faculty and staff members, including Miller, have read and plan to discuss Robinson’s book, “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America.”

Miller said he enjoyed the book, particularly its look at education and the role it plays in transforming lives.

“It talked about the ways (the) sort of economic migration has happened in the African-American community, particularly the role some of the historical black colleges have played in that,” he said.

Overall, the book deals with the changes in African-American socioeconomic structures in the country, which Miller said fits with the college-wide topic of “Leadership and Social Justice” for the 2012-13 school year.

Robinson’s presentation will be held in the Alma McDonough Auditorium on campus. It is free and open to the public.

MC Student Senate President Connor Walters said he’s looking forward to the event because he is a journalism major.

“I’m excited for what Mr. Robinson has to say,” he said.

He also plans to attend to join in the celebration of the college’s “long, storied history.”

Founder’s Day marks the reception of Marietta College’s charter on Feb. 14, 1835. Tom Perry, executive director of college relations, said the date of the event sometimes shifts to accommodate certain factors, such as lining up with the board of trustees meeting so they can participate.

In addition to Robinson’s speech, the event is a time when faculty members are honored for their work. Among the presentations will be education Professor Cathy Mowrer as the 2013 McCoy Professor.

The McCoy Professor title is a four-year recognition, plus a stipend. Peers nominate a professor and a group of nationally recognized teachers from outside the college review the individual’s work and observe two classes. Among the factors cited by the committee in Mowrer’s selection were engagement of students, knowledge of content, rapport with students, classroom management skills and innovative teaching.