Columnist Frank Rich to Speak at Willamette

Op-ed columnist Frank Rich of The New York Times will present the spring 2008 Atkinson Lecture at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Smith Auditorium at Willamette University. He will discuss the intersection of culture and politics.

Tickets are available beginning Monday, March 3, at the Information Desk in Putnam University Center. For Willamette faculty, students and staff, the first ticket is free with a Willamette ID, and subsequent tickets are $10 each. Tickets for the general public are $10.

A former film and television critic at Time magazine and The New York Post, Rich began working for The New York Times in 1980, and during the years has served as chief drama critic and political commentator. His op-ed columns have been a regular feature of the Times since 1994. In 1999 he was given the additional duty of senior writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Rich's weekly essays on the intersection of culture and news helped inaugurate the expanded opinion pages that the paper introduced in the Sunday Week in Review section in 2005. From 2003-05, Rich was the front-page columnist for the Sunday Arts & Leisure section.

Among other honors, Rich received the George Polk Award for commentary in 2005. His latest book, "The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina," was published by the Penguin Press in 2006. His childhood memoir, "Ghost Light," was published in 2000 by Random House. The film rights to "Ghost Light" have been acquired by Storyline Entertainment. A collection of Rich's drama reviews, "Hot Seat: Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980-1993," was published by Random House in October 1998.

Born in 1949 in Washington, D.C., Rich is a graduate of its public schools. He graduated magna cum laude in 1971 from Harvard College, earning a bachelor of arts degree in American history and literature. At Harvard, he was editorial chairman of The Harvard Crimson, an honorary Harvard College scholar, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the recipient of a Henry Russell Shaw traveling fellowship. Rich has two sons and lives in Manhattan with his wife, author Alex Witchel, who is a reporter for The New York Times.