April 15, 2013

Gramblinite Alum Speaks at May Commencement

Charles M. Blow, an op-ed columnist at The New York Times, selected as graduation speaker

By Andrea Beasley
Grambling State University Media Bureau

Charles M. Blow, New York Times columnistGRAMBLING, LA – New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, a 1992 Grambling State University graduate, will deliver the commencement address at the university’s May 10 event.

"Our first lady mentioned Charles Blow to me and I didn’t know he was a Grambling State University graduate at the time. I knew of him, I’ve read his columns and I’ve seen him on television, but when I realized he’s one of our own and a Louisiana native who excelled on our campus and someone who has excelled in everything he’s done, it was a no-brainer that we would invite him to speak to our graduates at our May commencement,” said Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue.

Blow, 42, The New York Times’ first visual op-ed columnist, has a reputation for communicating effectively in a variety of ways, including design, graphics, text and words – and doing so with candor, clarity and strong point of view. In 2011, he was ranked #11 on The Roots’ Top 100 most influential people, beating Kanye West, who followed at #12, and Beyonce’ Knowles, who ranked #13.

The Louisiana native joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor, and he was promoted to lead the entire graphics team as graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In 2008, he started a weekly column at the newspaper that features charts and a guileless edge.

Blow led the newspaper’s graphics team to a best of show award from the Society of News Design for graphics produced during the coverage of the attacks on September 11, 2001. In addition, as graphics editor he led the group to a best of show award from the Malofiej International Infographics Summit for coverage of the Iraq war.

Blow graduated magna cum laude with a bachelors in mass communications from Grambling State University. As a student, he was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Gramblinite, and the founder of a now-defunct student magazine, Razz.

Noting his amazing range of knowledge and skills, Joice Dunn, the newspaper’s university editor, remembered Blow as being “…pushy when he was editor of the paper,” a leader who “made sure that you turned in your assignment” and an editor who was so well-rounded that “he could do anything his staff could do.”

The opinionated journalist frequently appears on CNN and MSNBC. He is a single parent, living in Brooklyn with his three teenage kids.  Grambling State University’s commencement will be held at 10 a.m. on May 10 in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

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