Recipient of 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award To Give Craft Lecture

William Finnegan, Author

William Finnegan (MFA 1978) will be giving a nonfiction craft lecture/Q & A on Friday, Oct. 13, 8 pm in the Dell Brown Room. Note the 8 pm time since he will be coming from the Distinguished Alumni Award reception.

UM Names Five Recipients of 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award

Five exemplary University of Montana graduates will receive 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards during Homecoming weekend festivities on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14. The awards are the highest honor presented by UM’s Alumni Association.

This year’s distinguished alumni are William Finnegan M.F.A. ’78 of New York City; Harry Fritz M.A. ’62 of Missoula; Ramakrishna Nemani Ph.D. ’87 of Sunnyvale, California; Dr. Robert “Bob” Seim ’59 of Missoula; and James “Scott” Wheeler ’69 of Kalispell.

Finnegan, who earned a master’s degree in creative writing from UM, is an award-winning journalist who’s been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1987. He’s spent the majority of his career writing in-depth features on conflicts at home and abroad, reporting on everything from apartheid in South Africa to the politics of immigration reform in the U.S. In 2016, Finnegan’s surfing memoir, “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” won a Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times best-seller chronicles his “youthful obsession” during his formative years as he traveled the world looking for the next big wave. He has earned numerous accolades for his reporting as well, and his research and reporting have resulted in several nonfiction publications, including “Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country.”

The public is invited to attend a panel discussion featuring the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in the University Center Ballroom. An awards ceremony and reception will follow.