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Author/Economist Sylvia Nasar Named to Knight Chair at Journalism School

By Kim Brockway

Sylvia Nasar

Sylvia Nasar, journalist, economist and author of the award-winning A Beautiful Mind, has been named the first to hold the Knight Chair in Journalism, with an emphasis on business and economics reporting, at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, announced Tom Goldstein, dean of the School. She will begin on January 1, 2001.

"We are delighted and honored that Sylvia will be joining the Columbia community," said Dean Goldstein. "Her informed perspective, shaped by her multi-faceted professional experiences, will be invaluable as we explore the issues facing business journalism in an era of acquisitions and consolidations, emerging technology and 24-hour news cycles."

Columbia is one of several top U.S. colleges and universities to hold a Knight Chair, a permanent and prestigious teaching position endowed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. As chairholder, Nasar will teach in the Journalism School and work with Columbia's Graduate School of Business and the Knight-Bagehot Fellowships in Economics and Business Journalism, a program for business journalists also supported by the Knight Foundation. "We extend our sincere thanks to Hodding Carter III and Del Brinkman at the Foundation for their ongoing support of our programs and priorities," said Goldstein.

Until recently an economics reporter at The New York Times, Nasar has been a writer at Fortune and a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. She is currently a By-Fellow in Churchill College at Cambridge University in England, where she is working on a book about 20th century economic thinkers.

Nasar's first book, A Beautiful Mind, won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Helen Bernstein Journalism Award, and the Rhone Poulenc Prize for Science Writing and, most recently, was honored by the three leading American mathematics societies. Translated into more than a half dozen foreign languages, A Beautiful Mind is now being made into a feature film directed by Ron Howard (The Grinch, Apollo 13, Splash) and starring Russell Crowe (Gladiator, The Insider, L.A. Confidential).

A native of Germany, Nasar grew up in New York, Washington, DC and Ankara, Turkey. She studied literature at Antioch College and completed a master's degree in economics at New York University, where she subsequently conducted research with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief at the Institute for Economic Analysis. In academic year 1995-1996 she was a Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and last year she was a visiting scholar at Princeton University's Industrial Relations Division.

Nasar has served as a judge for the National Book Awards as well as for the Overseas Press Club Journalism Awards, and in September she delivered the annual Rosalynn Carter Distinguished Lecture in Mental Health Journalism at Emory University.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2000, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation makes national grants in journalism, education and arts and culture. Its fourth program, community initiatives, is concentrated in 26 communities where the Knight brothers published newspapers, but the Foundation is wholly separate from and independent of those newspapers.

Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism was founded in 1912 and offers programs leading to a master's of science and a Ph.D. in journalism. The School also runs the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program in Economics and Business Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program for working journalists, and administers some of the most prestigious prizes in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prizes; the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize; the National Magazine Awards; the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes; the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in television and radio journalism; and the Alfred Eisenstaedt awards for magazine photography.

Published: Oct 16, 2000
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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