College to Inaugurate Major Academic History Book Prize, Announce Start of New Scholarship Initiative for Local Students
Chestertown, MD, February 3, 2005 — Washington College's annual George Washington's Birthday Convocation welcomes C-SPAN founder, Brian Lamb, in a salute to the life of letters and to the College's faculty and staff authors, Saturday, February 19, at 2 p.m. in the College's Tawes Theatre. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Lamb will receive an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from the College.
Lamb's visit will also mark the inauguration of a new annual academic book prize, instituted by Washington College to acknowledge scholarly achievement in the study of early American history and the founding era. In addition, the College will use the occasion to announce a new scholarship initiative that will provide full tuition, room, board, and book costs to a Kent County student on a yearly basis.
One of the founders of cable's 24/7/365 public affairs channel, C-SPAN—the non-profit Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network—Lamb has served at the network's chief executive since its beginning in 1979, but he is best known as the on-air host of C-SPAN's Booknotes, having taped nearly eight hundred author interviews and published four books on the series since its 1989 inception.
The concept of a public affairs network that provided in-depth coverage of national and international issues was a natural for Lamb, who has been both a journalist and a political press secretary. Interested in broadcasting since childhood, he worked at Indiana radio and TV stations while attending high school and college, spinning records, selling ads, and eventually hosting the locally popular “Dance Date” television program. After graduation from Purdue University, Lamb joined the Navy; his tour included White House duty in the Johnson administration and a stint in the Pentagon public affairs office during the Vietnam War. In 1967, he returned home to Indiana, but Washington beckoned and he soon found himself back in the nation's capital where he worked as a freelance reporter for UPI, a Senate press secretary, and a White House telecommunications policy staffer.
In 1974, Lamb began publishing a biweekly newsletter, The Media Report, and covered communications issues as Washington bureau chief for Cablevision magazine. It was from this vantage point that the idea of a public affairs network delivered by satellite took shape, and by 1977 Lamb had won the support of key cable industry executives for a channel that could deliver gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. Congress. Organizing C-SPAN as a not-for-profit company, the group built one of D.C.'s first satellite uplinks—just in time to deliver the first televised session of the U.S. House of Representatives to 3.5 million cable households on March 19, 1979.
With cable industry support, C-SPAN grew rapidly and today employs 275 people and offers three 24-hour television networks—C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, and C-SPAN3— reaching more than 86 million households and providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate proceedings; coverage of daily political events from Washington, including congressional hearings, White House briefings, news conferences, policy seminars, and more; and on weekends, Book TV, 48 hours of non-fiction book programming and author interviews.
“We are delighted to honor Brian Lamb, especially as we share news of a new national book prize to bring attention to this nation's founding era and ideals, the very time and environment in which Washington College was conceived,” said Baird Tipson, President of the College.