COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- Gene McCarthy might have liked talking politics to Washington Post newspaper columnist, author and commentator E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Dionne is noted for a keen intellect that delivers reasoned analysis with a passion for people -- traits that also applied to the late U.S. representative and senator from Minnesota and Saint John's University graduate.
That's why Dionne is the inaugural speaker in the Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater, Saint John's University, Collegeville. The speech is free and open to the public.
Dionne's op-ed column -- which began in 1993 in the Post -- appears in syndication to more than 100 newspapers. He joined the staff of the Post in 1990 as a reporter.
Prior to joining the Post, Dionne spent 14 years working as a reporter for the New York Times newspaper, reporting on state and local government, national politics and from around the world, including stints in Paris, Rome and Berlin.His best-selling book, "Why Americans Hate Politics: Death of the Democratic Process" (1991, Simon and Schuster), was called a "classic in American political history" by Newsday. It won the Los Angeles Times book prize, and was a National Book Award nominee.
Dionne has also written "They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era" (1996, Simon and Schuster) and "Stand Up, Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps and the Politics of Revenge" (2004, Simon and Schuster).
He is a regular political analyst on National Public Radio, and is a frequent commentator on CNN and NBC's "Meet the Press."
In May 1996, Dionne joined the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program. He is also a senior advisor to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and a professor at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.
Dionne grew up in Fall River, Mass. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1973, and received his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
The Eugene J. McCarthy Lecture was announced in January 2006, following a memorial service to the three-time presidential candidate at Saint John's Abbey Church. McCarthy spent seven years as a student at Saint John's Preparatory School and University, and nearly one year as a member of the Benedictine community of Saint John's Abbey.
The annual public lecture will feature distinguished speakers who will address topics cherished by McCarthy -- including politics, poetry, social and economic justice, constitutional reform, campaign finance and other pertinent public policy issues.
The lectureship will carry on McCarthy's deep commitment to the ideals and principles of democratic self-government. It will seek to inspire a new generation of young people to pursue fresh ideas, to challenge the status quo, to effect positive change in their communities and, like McCarthy himself, to lead with honesty, integrity and courage.
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are two nationally-leading liberal arts colleges whose unique partnership provides students with a highly engaged and integrated learning experience preparing them for leadership and service in a global society. The student experience is enlivened by Catholic and Benedictine tradition and an extraordinary sense of place and community.