Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Shilling Lecture

2014 Speaker

Scott Simon

Host, Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR and Need to Know on PBS
Writer & Novelist

From Ground Zero in New York to ground zero in Kabul, to police stations, refugee camps, snipers' roosts, subway platforms, and theater stages, NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon has reported from all 50 states and every continent. He has covered ten wars, hundreds of campaigns, sieges, famines, hurricanes, earthquakes, civil wars, and scandals, state funerals and opening nights. He has interviewed and profiled some of the most interesting personalities of the times, from Mother Teresa to Ariel Sharon and Wyclef Jean, to roving street kids in Rio, and refugees in Kosovo, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Scott Simon has received numerous honors for his repor ting, including the Overseas Press Club, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University, George Foster Peabody, Ohio State, Directors Guild, Major Armstrong, and Emmy awards. He received a special 1989 George Foster Peabody Award for his weekly essays, which were cited for their sensitivity and literary style. He was awarded the Studs Terkel Media Award in 2009. He is the only journalist on the new National Institute on Civil Discourse (other members of the Institute include Colin Powell and Bill Clinton). He is also on the board of the Hemingway Collection at the JFK Presidential Library.

Simon hosts NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, which has an audience of 4.2 million listeners. Scott Simon also hosts the PBS television series, Backstage With... that features his conversations with some of the biggest names in theater, including Tom Hanks, Patricia Heaton, and Katie Holmes, and Need to Know on PBS. He has hosted many public television specials, including "Voices of Vision," "Life on the Internet," "State of Mind," "American Pie," "Search for Common Ground," and specials on privacy in America and democracy in the Middle East. He narrated the documentary film "Lincoln of Illinois" for PBS, and was blown up by Martians in the Grammy Award-nominated 50th anniversary remake of The War of the Worlds (co-starring Jason Robards). He hosted public television's coverage of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the BBC series Eyewitness, which was seen in the United States on the Discovery Channel, and a BBC special on the White House press corps. Simon was also co-anchor with Gwen Ifill of PBS's millennium special broadcast in 2000. He was a frequent guest host of the CBS television program Nightwatch and CNBC's TalkBack Live, and an essayist and commentator on NBC's Weekend Today and NOW with Bill Moyers, and ESPN. He also does essays and appears as a news analyst for BBC News. In February 2013 Simon will be hosting the pilot of a new show called Scott Simon's Wonderful Town.

Simon has written for The New York Times Book Review and Op-Ed pages, the Wall Street Journal opinion and book page, The Los Angeles Times, Friends Journal, and Gourmet Magazine (his Gourmet article on "Conflict Cuisine" recently won the James Beard Award for best Food Writing, as well as the International Culinary Professionals Award).

The son of comedian Ernie Simon and actress Patricia Lyons, Simon grew up in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Cleveland, and Washington, DC. He attended the University of Chicago and McGill University, and has received numerous honorary degrees.

Simon's book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan was published in the spring of 2000 by Hyperion. It topped the Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller list, and was cited as one of the best books of the year in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and several other publications. His second book, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, kicked off the prestigious Wiley Turning Points series in September of 2002, and was the Barnes and Noble Sports Book of the Year. It was reissued in 2007, the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinsons' entry into the major leagues. His most recent book, Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption a memoir about the subject of adoption, was published by Random House in August 2010, and made the extended bestseller list.

In 2005 Scott Simon published Pretty Birds, his novel about teenage girls during the siege of Sarajevo; it was acclaimed as "the start of a brilliant new career," and is now in its 13th printing. His most recent novel, the bestselling political comedy Windy City, was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2008.

Simon is a lover of ballet, and has appeared as Mother Ginger with the Ballet Austin production of The Nutcracker.

Simon is married to Caroline Richard. They have two daughters, Elise and Lina. His hobbies include Mexican cooking, book collecting, and living and dying for the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, and now, as a token of affection for his wife, the French national soccer team.