Noted historian slated as keynote speaker at UMFK commencement

Posted April 01, 2011, at 8:55 p.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — Dr. Douglas Brinkley will be the keynote speaker at the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s 129th commencement to be held Saturday, May 7, in the UMFK Sports Center.  Brinkley will receive an honorary doctorate conferred by the trustees of the University of Maine System.

Brinkley is a prolific and acclaimed historian, writer, and editor.  Six of his award-winning books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

His most recent book, “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America,” was published in July 2009 and became an instant New York Times bestseller and the 2009 recipient of the National Outdoor Book Award.

Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy.  He is the history commentator for CBS News, as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine.  Brinkley joined Rice University as a distinguished professor of history in July 2007.

Brinkley is the literary executor for his late friend, the journalist Hunter S. Thompson. He is the editor of a three-volume collection of Thompson’s letters. Brinkley also is the authorized biographer for Beat generation author Jack Kerouac, having edited Kerouac’s diaries, “Windblown World” (2004).

Brinkley has written profiles of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Norman Mailer and Ken Kesey for Rolling Stone magazine. In 2009, Brinkley interviewed Bob Dylan in Paris and Amsterdam for a Rolling Stone cover story.

When Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, Brinkley was asked, along with Tom Brokaw and U.S. Rep. John Lewis to write an essay for the “Official Inaugural Book.”  He was invited to the White House in the summers of 2009 and 2010 to discuss history with the president in a wide-ranging conversation on everything from foreign policy to conservation.

Brinkley and his wife, Anne, live in Austin, Texas, with their three children.

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