William J. Raspberry


Honorary Degree (1992)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


William J. Raspberry, columnist for The Washington Post, is among the most respected nationally syndicated newspaper columnists. His strong voice on social issues has helped influence the agenda of government policy. His insights into urban and minority affairs contribute importantly to public understanding, and his writing has had significant social impact in urban communities from coast to coast.

In his weekly column for the Post and his bi-weekly syndicated column, Mr. Raspberry explores a broad range of topics and frequently delves into matters other columnists have avoided. He serves as a model for younger journalists in his clear-sighted analysis of key questions relating to drug abuse, criminal justice, education, and other major concerns of today.

Mr. Raspberry was born in Okolona, Mississippi. He received the Bachelor of Science from Indiana Central College in 1958 and was a reporter and editor for the Indianapolis Recorder before serving in the United States Army from 1960 to 1962. He began his career at The Washington Post in 1962 and became a columnist in 1966.

William Raspberry has been honored with numerous awards for his writing, including the Washington/Baltimore Newspaper Guild Front Page Award, and several Guild Awards for interpretive reporting. The Capital Press Club names him Journalist of the Year in 1965 for his coverage of the Los Angeles Watts riots, and he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 1982. He has received honorary degrees from Georgetown University, University of Maryland, University of Indianapolis, and Virginia State University.