This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Courtesy Vassar College Media Relations

Ira Glass on Public Radio and 'This American Life'

On Tuesday, February 15, Vassar hosted its annual Alex Krieger ’95 Memorial Lecture. Past lecturers have included John Irving, Calvin Trillin, Oliver Sacks, and David Sedaris. Now, that list includes Ira Glass, the man behind National Public Radio’s “This American Life.”

Glass got his public radio start in 1978, at age 19, as an intern at NPR in Washington, D.C. He later moved to Chicago and launched his wildly popular “This American Life” program – for which he serves as host and executive producer – in 1995.

The Krieger Lecture offered a behind-the-scenes look at Glass’s show. He began the packed-house lecture in total darkness, a nod to “the invisibility of radio” as a different way to receive and process information, one which has the potential to go “right to your heart,” Glass noted.

He further emphasized that his show – and public radio and the news in general – must remember to be entertaining, sometimes finding humor or a lighter side in what otherwise looks like a serious situation – not making light of genuinely grave circumstances but not taking things too seriously, either. Glass emphasized for students that success takes dedication and hard work and that they should strive to find inspiration in whatever they do. Then he made a balloon poodle and offered it to President Cappy Hill.

His entertaining talk garnered high praise from the Vassar student body, with the Mads Vassar blog declaring him the 'newest campus crush.'. – PB

March 2011

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