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Washington Biographer Ron Chernow to Address Founders' Day

Renowned biographer Ron Chernow, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2010 biography of George Washington, Washington: A Life, will address Washington and Lee University’s annual Founders’ Day/Omicron Delta Kappa Convocation on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at 11:45 a.m. in Lee Chapel.

The speech, also titled “Washington: A Life,” is free and open to the public. It will be streamed live on the University’s website and the W&L Facebook page.


Watch on the W&L website
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W&L holds Founders’ Day each year on the birthday of Robert E. Lee, who was president of Washington College following the Civil War.

As part of the annual convocation, Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L in 1914 and now headquartered in Lexington, will holds its annual inductions of law and undergraduate students as well as honorary members. ODK was the first college honor society of a national scope to recognize and honor meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities, and to encourage the development of good campus citizenship.

An honors graduate of Yale and Cambridge, Chernow is widely regarded as one of America’s most distinguished commentators on politics, business and finance.

His first book, The House of Morgan: , a history of the J.P. Morgan family, won the National Book Award as the best nonfiction book of 1990. The Modern Library Board voted it one of the 100 best nonfiction books published in the 20th century.

Chernow’s 1993 book about a German-Jewish banking family, The Warburgs, won Columbia Business School’s George S. Eccles Prize for Excellence in Economic Writing in 1993 and was cited by the American Library Association as one of the year’s 10 best works.

In 1998 he published Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and Time magazine and The New York Times selected it as one of the 10 best books of the year.

Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton was published by The Penguin Press in April 2004. Called “by far the best biography ever written about the man” by The New York Times, Alexander Hamilton spent three months on the Times bestseller list. It was the first recipient of the George Washington Book Prize for early American history and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.

In October 2010, Washington: A Life was published to rave reviews and won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. The Pulitzer citation called the book “a sweeping, authoritative portrait of an iconic leader learning to master his private feelings in order to fulfill his public duties.” The New York Times quoted Chernow as saying that “ ‘in recent years people had an image of Washington as wooden, bland and boring,’ far from the ‘passionate, complex and sensitive man — dynamic and commanding and charismatic,’ whose contemporaries viewed him as an authentic hero.”

Chernow is working on a biography of Ulysses S. Grant. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and is a member and past president of the Board of Trustees for PEN American Center.

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