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HISTORIAN DOUGLAS BRINKLEY TO SPEAK AT UMFK COMMENCEMENT

March 30, 2011

NR11029


Noted historian, writer, and editor, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, will be the keynote speaker at UMFK’s 129th Commencement on Saturday, May 7, 2011 in the UMFK Sports Center. Brinkley also will receive an honorary doctorate degree conferred by the trustees of the University of Maine System.

Brinkley is a prolific and acclaimed historian, writer, and editor. Six of his award-winning books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year.
 
His most recent book, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, was published in July 2009 and became an instant New York Times bestseller and the 2009 recipient of the National Outdoor Book Award.
 
Dr. Brinkley currently is a professor of history at Rice University and he is a fellow at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. He is the history commentator for CBS News, as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine. Brinkley joined Rice University as a distinguished professor of history in July 2007.
 
Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Perrysburg, Ohio by parents, both of whom were high school teachers, Brinkley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ohio State University (1982), and a Master of Arts (1983) and a Ph.D. (1989) from Georgetown University in U.S. Diplomatic History.   He has taught at Princeton University, the United States Naval Academy, and at Hofstra University. He has received several honorary doctorates for his contributions to American letters, including one from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
 
During the early 1990s, Brinkley taught American Arts and Politics out of Hofstra University aboard the Majic Bus, a roving transcontinental classroom, from which emerged the book, The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey (1993). In 1993, he left Hofstra to teach at the University of New Orleans, where he again taught the class, using two, natural-gas fueled buses. 
 
Brinkley worked closely with his mentor, the historian Stephen E. Ambrose, then director of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans. Ambrose chose Brinkley to become director of the Eisenhower Center, a post he held for five years before moving on to Tulane University.
 
Brinkley is the literary executor for his late friend, the journalist Hunter S. Thompson. He is the editor of a three-volume collection of Thompson's letters.   Brinkley also is the authorized biographer for Beat generation author Jack Kerouac, having edited Kerouac's diaries as Windblown World (2004).
 
Brinkley has written profiles of Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Ken Kesey for Rolling Stone magazine. In 2009, Brinkley interviewed Bob Dylan in Paris and Amsterdam for a Rolling Stone cover story.
 
When Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States Brinkley was asked, along with Tom Brokaw and U.S. Representative, John Lewis, to write an essay for the Official Inaugural Book. He was invited to the White House in the summer of 2009 and 2010 to discuss history with the president in a wide-ranging conversation on everything from foreign policy to conservation.
 
Brinkley and his wife, Anne, live in Austin, Texas with their three children.