COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES, MAY 22, 2022
Doctor of Public Affairs
Citation written and presented by
Crispin Sartwell, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Conferring of the degree by John E. Jones III, President
Clarence Page, you teach that, as you said in your column of April 22, “our freedoms depend on our vigilance.” You have been outstandingly vigilant over decades as a journalist, eminently reasonable as a pundit but also fully emotionally engaged as a human being.
As a syndicated columnist and editorial board member for the Chicago Tribune and in hundreds of appearances on The McLaughlin Group, Hardball, Washington Journal and Weekend Edition, you have helped guide us through the urgent questions of the day: about race in America, about war, inequality, politics, protest, freedom of speech and your own compelling story.
Working through a stutter and undiagnosed ADD, you started at your high school newspaper at Middletown High in Ohio, and in your yearbook, your journalism teacher wrote “All I ask is that you mention my name when you win your first Pulitzer Prize.” You worked for the Chicago Tribune as a young man and then served in the military, returning to the Tribune and becoming a columnist in 1985.
Your journalism teacher Ms. Kindell’s prophecy was realized in 1989, when you won the commentary prize for a remarkable series of columns on topics engaging the whole of American culture at that moment: AIDS, a terrible early school shooting, gambling, television, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson. These columns helped set the tone for the many brilliant forays to come: closely reported, bringing us into direct connection with the people involved, finding by careful reasoning and vivid empathy a source of wisdom in yourself, and sharing it with us in clear, felicitous prose.
President Jones, in recognition of all these accomplishments and many others, in tribute to his fierce independence and fierce reasonableness, and at a moment when we need his poise and sagacity as much as we ever have, I am proud to present Clarence Page as a candidate for Doctor of Public Affairs.