Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa
David Brooks is a New York Times op-ed columnist, an analyst on PBS NewsHour and a frequent guest commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and The Diane Rehm Show. He is the author of several books, including Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. Brooks is the editor of The Best American Essays 2012 and of the 1996 anthology Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Brooks spent his early childhood in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town before moving with his family to the Philadelphia suburbs at age 12. After graduating from Radnor High School in 1979, Brooks enrolled at The University of Chicago, majoring in history and writing a humor column, along with book reviews, interviews and breaking news stories, for the Maroon, the university’s student newspaper. Rather famously, a satire of William F. Buckley Jr., written by Brooks in his senior year and published in the April 5, 1983, edition of the Maroon, led to a job offer from the amused Buckley, founder and editor of National Review.
Upon graduation, Brooks opted to remain in Chicago, where he was hired to work as a crime reporter for the City News Bureau. Brooks then made his way to New York to intern at Buckley’s National Review. Later, after a brief stint writing editorials and movie reviews at The Washington Times, Brooks was hired by The Wall Street Journal, where he would remain for the next nine years. In 1995, Brooks joined the newly launched neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard as a senior editor. He joined The New York Times in 2003 and is known for his incisive, balanced take on the most pressing issues of the day.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Brooks speaks regularly at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He has made visits to Amherst in the past, most recently to participate in a colloquium that featured cultural commentary on the 2008 presidential race.