(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jan. 6, 2010) Bob Herbert, the first black regular op-ed columnist for The New York Times and a 1988 graduate of Empire State College of the State University of New York, is one of eight recipients of Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois medal for significant contributions to African-American culture.
Herbert studied at the college’s Metropolitan Center in New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies with a concentration in journalism.
Dr. MaryNell Morgan, an associate professor at Empire State College and a Du Bois scholar, said Herbert exemplifies Du Bois’ commitment to building a caring and just society.
“I have studied the life and work of W.E.B. Du Bois for many years; and I use some aspect of his contributions to human thought and knowledge in virtually everything I teach. I am very pleased to be able to use an Empire State College alumnus as an example of a nationally and internationally recognized person who embodies Du Bois’s principles and practices,” said Morgan.
The Du Bois medals, awarded at a December 2009 ceremony by the Institute for African and African- American Research at Harvard, were also conferred upon the late Hugh M. “Brother Blue” Hill, a performance artist and playwright; Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a radio and television journalist; Vernon E. Jordan, former head of the National Urban League and advisor to President Bill Clinton; philanthropists Daniel and Joanna Rose; Frank H. Pearl, founder of Perseus Books; and Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman. Du Bois was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Herbert joined The New York Times in 1993. His twice-weekly column features his commentary on city, national and international events. He began his career as a reporter and night city editor for the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., then joined the Daily News. There he began as an education reporter and rewrite person, before moving to increasingly senior positions, including city hall bureau chief, city editor, columnist and editorial board member. Herbert was a founding panelist of “Sunday Edition,” a weekly discussion program on WCBS-TV in New York and host of “Hotline,” a weekly issues program on New York public television.
He was a national correspondent for NBC News just prior to joining the staff of The New York Times. A recipient of number of awards, Herbert received an honorary degree from the State University of New York (Empire State College) in 1995.
Empire State College offers adult learners the opportunity to State University of New York associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees through independent study, seminars, residences and online courses. The college is a leader in evaluating and granting credit for prior college-level learning gained from work and life experiences. Empire State College serves more than 19,000 students worldwide at multiple locations in the state of New York and online. For more information, visit www.esc.edu.