The University Record, February 25, 1998

Roberts to give annual academic freedom lecture March 16

By Jane R. Elgass

Eugene L. Roberts Jr., considered by many to be the dean of American newspaper editors, will deliver the Eighth Annual Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom at 4 p.m. March 16 in Rackham Amphitheater. He will discuss "Free Speech, Free Press: Free Society."

Roberts, who was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the U-M last year, achieved a distinguished New York Times byline with his coverage of the civil rights movement at its height in 1965­67 and the Vietnam war in 1968­69. He left his post as national editor of the Times in 1972 to become editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Within three years, the Inquirer won a Pulitzer Prize and garnered 16 more during his 18-year tenure as editor. He left the Inquirer in 1990 to teach journalism at the University of Maryland, and rejoined the Times four years later. Under his leadership, the Times increased its investigative projects.

Roberts currently is professor of journalism at the University of Maryland and editor in chief and chairman of the Project on the State of the American Newspaper, which is supported by the Pew Charitable Trust.

He has chaired the Pulitzer Prize Board for journalism, arts and letters, and he continues to promote the personal and professional development of journalists by serving on the board of the Michigan Journalism Fellows Program at the U-M.

He has won numerous awards, including the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award for lifetime achievement in journalism.

The annual lecture is named for three faculty members--Chandler Davis, Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson--who in 1954 were called to testify before a Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities. All invoked constitutional rights and refused to answer questions about their political associations.

The three were suspended form the University. Markert was subsequently reinstated and Davis and Nickerson were dismissed.

The lecture is sponsored by the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, the U-M Chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.