POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Writer and humorist Randy Cohen, best known for his weekly The Ethicist column in the New York Times magazine, will deliver the address at the 144th Vassar College commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 10:00 a.m., at the college’s outdoor amphitheater.
Since Cohen began writing The Ethicist in 1999, he has helped “advice seekers negotiate an ethical minefield,” wrote UAlbany magazine. “He receives a couple hundred e-mails each week from readers seeking his opinion on such matters as the ethics of telling a
friend of his spouse’s infidelity, and if it’s ethical for a parent to read a teenage daughter’s online diary after stumbling upon it.”
Now Cohen’s column is widely syndicated as Everyday Ethics to newspapers across the U.S. and Canada, and he has also become the ethics columnist for the Times of London, as well a regular contributor on ethical questions to the weekend edition of the National Public Radio program All Things Considered.
Vassar College president Catharine Bond Hill said, “Randy Cohen has significantly raised awareness and sensitivity regarding issues of ethics in everyday life, and he is a creative and entertaining writer. He will add to both the sense of responsibility and celebration that are very much a part of the commencement atmosphere.”
A versatile writer, who has authored collections of short stories (Diary of a Flying Man) and letters (Modest Proposals), as well as a book based upon his New York Times column (The Good, the Bad and the Difference), Cohen won three Emmy awards for his writing on Late Night with David Letterman, and a fourth for the program TV Nation.
Slate magazine, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Harper’s, and the Atlantic Monthly have published Cohen’s work as well, and he was the original head writer on TV’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show, for which he also co-wrote the theme music.