Dede Gardner ’90 and Paul Auster ’69, GSAS’70 will be the keynote speakers for Class Day 2018 and Reunion 2018, respectively. Gardner is the co-president of Plan B Entertainment, a production company owned by Brad Pitt. She is the first female producer to win two Best Picture Academy Awards, for Moonlight in 2017 and 12 Years a Slave in 2014. Gardner, who graduated cum laude with a degree in English, was presented a John Jay Award in 2012.
In an October 2016 interview with Indiewire, she described how Plan B discovers the bold films it produces: “Our instincts feel the same as they always have — what stories do we want to tell and with whom do we want to tell them?” she says. “We love filmmakers, we love directors, we love writers. And we certainly love movies that ask questions and make people think and ask questions to themselves.”
Auster’s most recent novel, 4321, was nominated for a Man Booker Prize; his latest non-fiction book, A Life in Words, was published last fall. 4321 includes passages about Columbia, and he wrote an op-ed about being at the College in Spring 1968, “The Accidental Rebel,” for The New York Times in 2008. In that piece, he remembers himself this way: “I see myself as a quiet, bookish young man, struggling to teach myself how to become a writer, immersed in my courses in literature and philosophy at Columbia...I wanted to read my books, write my poems and drink with my friends at the West End bar.”
Class Day is Tuesday, May 15, and Reunion 2018 is Thursday, May 31–Saturday, June 2.