Commencement
Past Honorary Degree Recipients

2011: Tim Egan

  • Timothy Egan is one of our nation's most highly esteemed authors and journalists. For 18 years, Egan was a Seattle-based reporter for The New York Times, covering everything from the Exxon Valdez oil spill to the O.J. Simpson trial to the collapse of small-town America in the Great Plains. Egan was part of a team of Times reporters who won a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for their series, "How Race Is Lived in America." 

    Seamlessly transitioning from reporter to columnist, Egan currently writes a weekly online op-ed for the Times that is often among the publication's most read articles. In the column,Egan places the issues of our times in conversation with questions that go to our shared values. When he writes about matters such as stewardship of the land, faith, elected leadership, race and poverty, he speaks for justice and better choices by our nation.

    A prolific writer, Egan is also the author of six books. His New York Times bestseller, The Worst Hard Time: the Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, won the 2006 National Book Award, which is considered one of the nation's highest literary honors. In his most recent book, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, Egan shares the story of the largest-ever forest fire in America, which inspired President Roosevelt and his chief forester Gifford Pinchot to pioneer land conservation initiatives.

    Perhaps better than any writer, Egan describes to the country the special character of Western America. In "Outposts," his weekly column for the Times, he writes authoritatively and with graceful prose about our region's history, politics and values.

    Egan is particularly gifted in telling the story of the Pacific Northwest. The Good Rain, which has been a regional bestseller for 12 years, was rated one of the 10 essential books ever written about the region in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer poll. Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West won the 1999 Governor's Writing Award from Washington State and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association.

    A third-generation Westerner who lives in Seattle, Egan is an avid mountaineer. He graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School and is proud to call himself a product of Jesuit education.