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Senior Class Day Speaker

Posted by on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 in News.

Dear Members of the Vanderbilt Community,

I am pleased to tell you that Pulitzer Prizewinning author and world-renown historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is the recipient of the 2009 Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal and will be our keynote speaker at Senior Class Day on May 7 at 10:00 a.m. on Alumni Lawn.

Doris Kearns Goodwin has served our society as a preeminent chronicler and analyst of history and politics for over three decades. A graduate of Colby College, she received her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University, where she taught a course on the American Presidency. Ms. Goodwin left Harvard to serve as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House and later assisted him in the preparation of his memoirs.

Ms. Goodwin’s bestsellers include political biographies Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, and Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir, about growing up in the 1950s in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

Her most recent work, a monumental history of Abraham Lincoln entitled Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, has received national acclaim as we pay tribute to the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth this year. Team of Rivals has won the 2006 Lincoln Prize, the inaugural New York Historical Society Book Prize, the Richard Nelson Current Award and the New York State Archives History Makers Award.

The Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal honors a person who defines the 21st Century and exemplifies the best qualities of the human spirit. Doris Kearns Goodwin, through her keen appreciation of the lessons of history and their relevance in today’s world, is a most worthy recipient of this year’s award.

Senior Class Day, which honors graduating students, is open to all members of the Vanderbilt community and represents a special occasion for the university to recognize with the Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal the outstanding contributions of an individual who has significantly shaped our world.


Nicholas S. Zeppos