Eugene Robinson (1970, SC)

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Eugene Robinson is a politics and culture columnist at The Washington Post. He writes a twice-a-week column, contributes to the PostPartisan blog, and hosts a weekly online chat with readers. 

When he entered the University of Michigan in the fall of 1970, Robinson thought he’d be an architect, but found he wasn’t a particularly good architecture student. He went to work at the student newspaper and fell in love with journalism. His senior year, he was named co-editor-in-chief of the paper,TheMichigan Daily

Robinson began his career in 1976 as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, where he covered the trial of kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. In 1980, he joined The Washington Post, first as a city hall reporter and then as assistant city editor. 

After a year off from the paper to serve as a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, Robinson was the Post’s South American correspondent, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1988-1992 – a job for which he learned to speak both Spanish and Portuguese. From 1992 to 1994 he was the Post’s London bureau chief; he was named the paper’s foreign editor in 1994, the same year he was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations. He became assistant managing editor of thePost’s style section in 1999. 

In 2005, Robinson began writing twice-weekly columns for the opinion page of The Washington Post, and within a year, his column was syndicated to more than 130 newspapers. His columns about the 2008 presidential campaign and the election of President Barack Obama earned him the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary – according to the Pulitzer Committee, “for his eloquent columns ... that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.” 

In addition to his written commentaries, Robinson is the author of the books Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Last Dance in Havana (2004), and Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race (1999). He appears on television regularly as a political analyst for MSNBC cable network shows such as Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife, Avis, and their two sons.