Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and prolific biographer, will be the featured speaker at the 21st R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues at Missouri Western State University at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4 in the M.O. Looney Complex on the Missouri Western campus. The Convocation is free and open to the public. Brinkley’s most recent book is “Cronkite,” a New York Times bestselling biography of St. Joseph native son Walter Cronkite. He will speak on what would have been the legendary newsman’s 98th birthday.
“Last Nov. 4, we dedicated the Walter Cronkite Memorial to honor the most influential journalist of the 20th century,” said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. “It’s appropriate that we mark Cronkite’s birthday this year with his biographer, one of the most prolific biographers living today. This man is a scholar on many fascinating subjects, and I know that he will be an excellent speaker at Convocation.”
In addition to the Convocation, Dr. Brinkley will be the guest of honor at the annual Convocation Luncheon at noon Nov. 4 in the Fulkerson Center. He will also speak the preceding day at the inaugural Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity, cosponsored by Missouri Western and the Media Ethics Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Dr. Brinkley’s appearance is sponsored by the Missouri Western State University Foundation.
Douglas Brinkley currently is a professor of history at Rice University. His most recent book is “Cronkite,” a New York Times bestseller, in which he brings the American icon into focus as never before by drawing on unprecedented access to his private papers as well as interviews with the anchorman’s family and friends. He is a sought-after commentator on U.S. presidential history and has written books on Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as well as presidential candidate John Kerry.
Six of Dr. Brinkley’s books have been selected as New York Times “Notable Books of the Year.” “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast” (2006) was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. “The Great Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” (2009) was the recipient of the National Outdoor Book Award.
Before coming to Rice, Dr. Brinkley served as professor of history and director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1994 to 2005, he was Stephen E. Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, co-writing two books with Dr. Ambrose. On the literary front, Dr. Brinkley has edited Jack Kerouac’s diaries, Hunter S. Thompson’s letters and Theodore Dreiser’s travelogue. He has also written books on Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks and Cold Warrior Dean Acheson.
He won the Benjamin Franklin Award for “The American Heritage History of the United States” (1998) and the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize for “Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal” (1992). He was awarded the Business Week Book of the Year Award for “Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company and a Century of Progress” (2003).
Dr. Brinkley is a contributing editor for “Vanity Fair,” “The Los Angeles Times Book Review” and “American Heritage.”
Dr. Brinkley completed his bachelor’s degree at Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1989. He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas with his wife and three children.