"We are excited that Mr. Stengel has accepted our invitation to serve as our Commencement speaker," said Andrew Tomko, senior class president from North Olmsted, Ohio. "Throughout his career, Mr. Stengel has helped, in keeping with TIME's mission, to ‘explain the world to people.' Who better to address our class at this historic time in our world than the person who in many ways has consistently passed on his own light of leadership, integrity and knowledge to ensure that we understand, contemplate and engage ourselves in the issues and events that affect us all."
The 16th managing editor in the history of TIME since its founding in 1923 by Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden, Stengel oversees the award-winning newsmagazine with 25 million readers worldwide, as well as TIME.com, which draws 6 million unique visitors a month. In addition, Stengel manages TIME's other brand extensions including TIME Style & Design and TIME For Kids.
"Rick is a true multi-media editor," said John Huey, editor-in-chief of TIME Inc., in his 2006 announcement of Stengel's selection as managing editor. "His intellectual depth and breadth are long established, as are his leadership qualities and competitive spirit…Under Rick, I expect TIME will be as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century."
Prior to his current post, Stengel enjoyed a long history with TIME, having served at different times as the magazine's national and culture editor as well as the editor of TIME.com. As a senior writer and essayist, he covered both the 1996 and 1988 Presidential campaigns. Stengel has also written for The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. In 1998 he taught a course at Princeton University called "Politics and the Press" before moving to a vastly different political arena in 1999 as a senior adviser and chief speechwriter for then presidential candidate Bill Bradley.
In 2004, Stengel accepted another opportunity to "explain the world to people" as president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, which is a museum, education center and think tank on Independence Mall in Philadelphia dedicated to teaching the importance of the Constitution and civic engagement. The center, which welcomes a million visitors annually, a third of whom are students, facilitates debates, conversations and dialogues, which shed light on the most important constitutional issues facing America.
A frequent television commentator on CNN and MSNBC, Stengel recently served as the co-moderator for the Sept. 11, 2008 ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum, where he interviewed Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on their views about national service. Stengel is also a member of the board of trustees of City Year, one of the lead partners of the ServiceNation coalition.
Author of several books, including a collaborative effort with Nelson Mandela on Mandela's best-selling 1993 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Stengel later served as co-producer of the 1996 Oscar-nominated documentary Mandela. His other books include January Sun: One Day, Three Lives, A South African Town and You're too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery.
Stengel graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1977 and played on its 1975 NIT-winning basketball team. As a Rhodes Scholar, he studied English and history at Christ Church College, Oxford. A native New Yorker, Stengel is married to Mary Pfaff. They have two sons.
Written By: Karen Gerboth
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