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Conferred November 13, 1997, by Colby President William R. Cotter.
David Halberstam, yours has been among the most eloquent and influential voices of the 20th century. Your reporting from Vietnam, condemned at the highest levels of American government and even within the ranks of journalists, editors, and publishers, was prophetic. It is still cited as exemplary in books, journals, classrooms, and other venues. For it you received a Pulitzer Prize and a host of other professional honors. From it arose The Best and The Brightest, the first of your eight consecutive best-selling books.
You are celebrated for your meticulous, exhaustive research and thorough reporting, for your insight in interpreting the information at your command, and for writing books that both advance the substance of a nation’s thinking and serve as touchstones for a nation’s history. You also are famous for your love of American athletics. Books like Summer of ’49, The Amateurs, and October 1964 shine lights not only on America’s pastimes but on what they teach us about society at large.
You are driven by passion for your work and esteemed for your extraordinary character as a friend and colleague to other journalists, whether neophyte or sage. Colby is proud to add the Lovejoy Award to your list of honors, for you have throughout your career upheld the ideals for which we revere Elijah Parish Lovejoy.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, David Halberstam, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.