Campus News

Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn to Lecture at Bowdoin

Story posted September 05, 2003

Ben Bradlee, vice president-at-large of The Washington Post, and Sally Quinn, author and Washington Post columnist, will deliver Bowdoin College's Tom Cassidy Lecture in journalism at 8 p.m., Thursday, September 18, in Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin campus.

The lecture, which will focus on journalism in Washington, D.C., is open to the public. Free tickets are required and are available at the David Saul Smith Union information desk on campus. Call (207) 725-3375. (Members of the Association of Bowdoin Friends may pick up tickets at the McLellan Building or call 798-7016.)

Benjamin C. Bradlee, considered by many to be the most influential newspaper editor of our time, was executive editor of The Washington Post from 1968-1991 and managing editor for three years prior to that.

His career at The Washington Post began in 1948 as a reporter covering the federal courts. He left The Post in 1951 to become press attaché for the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Leaving that assignment in 1953, Bradlee joined Newsweek's Paris bureau, where he spent four years as European correspondent.

He returned to Washington in 1957 as Newsweek's political correspondent and was later named Washington bureau chief. During this period he began intensive coverage of presidential campaigns and covered the Kennedy and Nixon campaigns in 1960. In 1965 Bradlee rejoined The Post as managing editor and became executive editor in 1968.

In 1971 The Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, a secret history of the Vietnam War. This was a prelude to The Post's investigations of the Watergate scandal starting in 1972, exposing a cover-up scheme by the Nixon administration that resulted in President Nixon's eventual resignation.

A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures, a book of Bradlee's memoirs, was published in September 1995. He is also the author of That Special Grace (1964), a tribute to President Kennedy, and Conversations with Kennedy (1975).

Sally Quinn was hired by Ben Bradlee in 1969 to be a party reporter for The Washington Post's newly created Style section. Despite her lack of previous writing or reporting experience, Bradlee was impressed with her savvy, sophistication and outspokenness. Before long she was one of the paper's most celebrated writers.

During the 1970s and 80s she was renowned for her irreverent and often controversial profiles of celebrities and politicians. The pieces made her famous, feared and admired.

Her two novels, Regrets Only (a 1986 bestseller) and the sequel Happy Endings (1991), cover territory she knows extraordinarily well - the reporters, the politicians, and the social climbers who thrive in the nation's capital. Her latest book, The Party (1997), is an insider's look at Washington entertaining and a personal view of the value of friendship.

She is also the author of We're Going to Make You a Star (1975), which recounts her frustrating and short-lived experience as co-anchor for "CBS Morning News."

Quinn continues to write for The Post and is a popular guest on many political news shows including "Meet the Press" and "Larry King Live."

Quinn and Bradlee married in 1991.

The Tom Cassidy Lectureship at Bowdoin was inaugurated in 1997 with a lecture by Lou Dobbs of CNN. It honors the memory of Thomas J. Cassidy of the Bowdoin Class of 1972, a business reporter at CNN and host of "Pinnacle." Cassidy died in 1991 at the age of 41 from complications of the AIDS virus.

In addition to Dobbs, previous Cassidy lecturers have included National Public Radio's Linda Wertheimer and Andrew Serwer '81, editor-at-large at Fortune magazine.

In his will, Tom Cassidy provided for a lectureship at Bowdoin, the purpose of which is bring a distinguished journalist to campus to meet with Bowdoin students, faculty and staff and give a public lecture on journalism.

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