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Five Alumni Receive Distinguished Achievement Awards

4/15/2007
Don't miss Convocation at Special Reunion, when five alumni will be recognized by the Board of Governors with Alumni Distinguished Achievement Awards: Nat Brandt '47, Joseph McElroy '47, Robert Mitchell '62, Nicholas Asher '72, and James Manos '77.

Don't miss Convocation at Special Reunion, when five alumni will be recognized by the Board of Governors with Alumni Distinguished Achievement Awards: Nat Brandt '47, Joseph McElroy '47, Robert Mitchell '62, Nicholas Asher '72, and James Manos '77.

Nat Brandt '47

Nat Brandt is a veteran journalist who began his career as a senior news writer with CBS News in New York. He subsequently worked as a reporter for newspapers in Connecticut and New Jersey before joining The New York Times as an editor on the national news desk. He later was managing editor of American Heritage magazine and editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly. Since 1980, he has been a freelance writer and editor, as well as an adjunct teacher. Recently, he was the co-creator of the multiple award-winning PBS series, The Crucible of the Millennium, which dealt with the events of the fifteenth century and their resonance today.

Brandt has taught news writing and communications at St. John's University in Queens, and reporting and writing in a special program for science majors at New York University's Graduate School of Arts and Science.

A history major at the University of Rochester, Brandt has nine books to his credit and a tenth book, In the Shadow of the Civil War: Passmore Williamson and The Rescue of Jane Johnson, scheduled for publication by the University of South Carolina Press in June 2007. His book The Man Who Tried to Burn New York won the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award. It also has been optioned for a movie, as were The Town That Started the Civil War and The Congressman Who Got Away with Murder.

His other books include Con Brio: Four Russians Called the Budapest String Quartet, Massacre in Shansi, Harlem at War: The Black Experience in WWII, Mr. Tubbs' Civil War, When Oberlin Was King of the Gridiron: The Heisman Years, and Chicago Death Trap: The Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903.

Joseph McElroy '47

Joseph McElroy is the author of eight widely-reviewed novels published here and abroad, including Lookout Cartridge, A Smuggler's Bible, Women and Men, and, most recently, Actress in the House; he has a ninth novel about the Iraq war currently in the works. McElroy has had stories published in The New Yorker and many other magazines, as well as Best American Short Stories. He has won the PEN fiction project prize for the short story and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has twice won the O. Henry Award. For forty years, McElroy has had essays and reviews published in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Washington Post, Book Forum, Conjunctions, Art International, Shambhala Sun, and other magazines. He also had a book of essays published in 2003. McElroy is currently completing a non-fiction book about water, as well as a novel begun in 1949 about the early post-World War II, pre-McCarthy period in California. In addition, he has a science fiction film script about New York City going into production.

McElroy has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Ingram Merrill, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller foundations. He has received the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship from the University of New Mexico and a CAPS grant.

McElroy has been a visiting professor at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, Washington University, Northwestern, University of Paris, New York University, University of New Hampshire, and Temple University. He is professor emeritus of English at the City University of New York. He has taught writing workshops at New York State prisons and lectured several times for the State Department's U.S. Information Agency in Europe.

Bob Mitchell '62

Bob Mitchell has been a certifiable sports nut for over 55 years. Passionate about sports—as a fan, a coach, and a player—he has been a devoted student and scholar of all major and minor sports since 1951. He lettered in three sports at both Poly Prep and Williams College, and he taught tennis professionally.

Mitchell has authored several critically-acclaimed books. His two novels are, naturally, about the profound relationship between sports and life. Match Made in Heaven, a tale of golf and human frailty, is in its second printing and available worldwide in six languages. His next novel, a story of baseball and history, is expected to appear in 2008. He is working on a third novel about the redemptive power of art and a collection of short stories. Mitchell also has published three nonfiction books about sports: The Heart Has Its Reasons: Reflections on Sports and Life, The Tao of Sports, and How My Mother Accidentally Tossed Out My Entire Baseball-Card Collection (and Other Sports Stories).

Mitchell was educated at Williams College (BA, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude), Columbia University (MA in French literature, Woodrow Wilson Fellow), and Harvard (PhD in French and comparative literature). He taught in France on a Fulbright Fellowship for a year and was a French professor for eleven years at Harvard, Purdue, and Ohio State, during which time he published four books on French poetry. He entered advertising in 1981 as a copywriter, became creative director at a number of New York agencies, and spent 1994 in Tel Aviv as a special consultant on commercial film writing and production.

Mitchell speaks seven languages and has lived in Paris, Brittany, London, Florence, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Morocco, and Montreal. He currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, Susan, and their Labrador retrievers, Koslo and Mocha.

Nicholas Asher '72

Nicholas Asher has had a long and illustrious career in academia. In 1976, he received BAs in history and philosophy (summa cum laude) and an MA in philosophy from Yale University. He earned a BA with honors in mathematics and philosophy from Oxford University in 1978, and then returned to Yale for his PhD in philosophy, which he completed in 1982.

Asher has been an invited member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Association for the Advancement of Science since 1996. He has received numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation and the University Research Institute, among many other organizations. Asher has been a fellow of the Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques, Cognisciences et Informatique (Cognitive Science and Computer Science), in Toulouse, France, and an Andrews Faculty Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. He received a Harry W. Foote Fellowship and a Yale University Fellowship, and he won the Marry Caddy Tew Prize in 1979 for distinguished work in the first year of graduate study.

Asher has been a visiting professor in linguistics at Universite Paris VII (Jussieu) in Paris, France, and a visiting professor in computer science at Universite Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. He also has been a visiting associate professor at Institut fuer Maschinellesprachverarbeitung in Universitaet Stuttgart and University of Tuebingen, both in Germany. He has been a professor in the linguistics department, and is currently a professor in the philosophy department, at The University of Texas.

Asher has taught philosophy courses in English, French, and German. His publications include the books Reference to Abstract Objects in Discourse: A Philosophical Semantics for Natural Language Metaphysics and Logics of Conversation, as well as numerous scholarly articles. He has served on numerous committees and editorial boards and has presented public lectures in America and Europe.

James Manos Jr. '77

James Manos Jr. has had an extensive career in film and television. He is the winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for his episode of The Sopranos, titled "College." He completed two seasons as consulting producer on The Shield and wrote and produced Dexter, the successful one-hour drama, now in its second season on Showtime.

Manos recently wrote two feature comedies for New Line Cinema based on his pitches, The Michael Pellegrino Project and The Untitled Marine Ballet Project, which is slated to go into production shortly. His previous feature film works include The Angel of Death, a detective thriller for Spyglass Entertainment, and a black comedy about divorce for Bel Air Entertainment. He has also written two independent features, The Misconception and The Slow and Complete Decompensation of Jim Manos, which he is slated to direct.

Manos produced the award-winning movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, starring Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges for HBO. The movie was nominated for six Emmy Awards, winning three. It also won the Cable Ace Award for Best Picture. In addition, Manos produced the critically acclaimed Apollo 11 and The Ditchdigger's Daughters, which was nominated for three Cable Ace Awards, including Best Picture.

A theatre director, Manos received a degree from Colgate University in English/Theater and studied as a director at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Manos also studied acting and later taught acting classes in New York. He has directed numerous plays regionally and in New York, including William Inge's The Disposal, Slawomir Mrozek's Vatzlav, Eugene Ionesco's The Lesson, Molière's The Doctor in Spite of Himself, and Arthur Miller's Some Kind of Love Story.