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‘Hill’ reporter, Tony-award winning director return to campus for talks

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
January 1, 2018

Two distinguished alumni will visit campus this spring for lectures, class presentations and talks with students, thanks to an alumni gift from the family of James H. Becker, a 1917 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The Becker Grant, established in 1976, helps departments within the College of Arts & Sciences bring alumni to campus to share their experiences with students.

This spring’s two visitors include Jordan Fabian ’09 and Sam Gold ’00.

Fabian, White House correspondent for The Hill, will discuss his experiences reporting from the front lines of Donald Trump's White House and share what he has learned about Trump and about the country over this tumultuous year.

Fabian graduated with a degree in history. Before joining the White House Press corps, he served as political correspondent for The Hill and as political editor for Univision News English-language portal. He has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News and C-SPAN, and has contributed to a number of nationally-syndicated radio programs.

Fabian’s lecture is set for 4:45 p.m. Feb. 8 in Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall. He will also visit with students during a Career Conversation event at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 9. That talk is sponsored by the Arts & Sciences Career Development Center.

“We invite alumni back for annual events, but the Becker Grant enables us to have them on campus for a couple of days for class visits and a career conversation, as well as a presentation,” said Paul Friedland, professor of history.

Friedland said Fabian’s career is illustrative of the varied career options for liberal arts students. “There are tons of interesting jobs you can get with a history degree,” he said.

The other Becker lecturer, Gold, will visit March 26 for a 5 p.m. talk with Professor David Feldshuh in the Kiplinger Theater of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

Gold won the Tony award in 2015 as best director for the musical “Fun Home” and was nominated in 2017 as best director for the play “A Doll’s House Part 2.” After graduating from Cornell, he earned a directing degree from Julliard, then spent three years as dramaturge/assistant director for Elizabeth LeCompte's Wooster Group. His other recent directing credits include “The Glass Menagerie,” “The Realistic Joneses,” “The Village Bike,” “The Real Thing,” “John,” “The Mystery of Love and Sex” and “The Flick.”

“Sam Gold is one of the most innovative and exciting directors on and off Broadway, and we're lucky to host a return visit,” said Austin Bunn, associate professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. “He'll reflect on his experiences working with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights, MacArthur ‘genius’ grant winners, graphic novelists, actors and designers to produce ground-breaking shows. This is not to be missed for anyone interested in what the performing arts can teach us about collaboration."

According to his obituary in the New York Times, James H. Becker was chairman of the board of A. G. Becker & CO., Inc., a national investment banking and brokerage house. At Cornell, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army after graduation.

The Times story goes on to say that Becker then joined the overseas division of the American Relief Administration, known as the Hoover Food Relief Commission, and later became director of the European organization of the Joint Distribution Committee before joining the firm founded by his father, the late A. G. Becker, in 1921.