National Public Radio’s award-winning host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, Terry Gross, will deliver the Wilkes University Max Rosenn Lecture in Law and Humanities on Sunday, April 25. The event begins at 3 p.m. and will broadcast at wilkes.edu/rosenn. The lecture was originally scheduled to take place in April 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
The interview-style discussion, “All I Did Was Ask: An Afternoon With Terry Gross” will offer a behind-the-mic glimpse of her innovative and hugely popular public radio show, Fresh Air. Recounting stories of extremely successful interviews as well as relating entertaining tales of particularly disastrous interviews, Gross will share a side of herself that her listeners rarely get to see.
The virtual discussion will be moderated by Mark Stine, Wilkes University professor of communication studies, with questions from Wilkes President Greg Cant. In addition to the broadcast on April 25, Gross will meet with Wilkes students during a live question-and-answer session on Thursday, March 11.
The lecture on April 25 is free and open to the public. Attendees can learn more at www.wilkes.edu/rosenn. For additional information, contact Rebecca Van Jura at 570-408-4306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gross, who has been host of Fresh Air since 1975, when it was broadcast only in Greater Philadelphia, is not afraid to ask tough questions. But she sets an atmosphere in which her guests volunteer the answers rather than surrendering them. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the unique approach, “a remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence.” Fresh Air is broadcast on nearly 600 stations and became the first non-drive-time show in public radio history to reach more than five million listeners a week. The broadcast went on to win The Peabody Award in 1994 for its “probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insight.”
Gross began her radio career in 1973 at public radio station WBFO in Buffalo, N.Y., where she hosted and produced several arts, women’s and public affairs programs. Two years later, she joined the staff of WHYY-FM in Philadelphia as producer and host of Fresh Air, then a local, daily interview and music program. In 1985, WHYY-FM launched a weekly half-hour edition of Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which was distributed nationally by NPR. Since 1987, a daily, one-hour national edition of Fresh Air has been produced by WHYY-FM.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross has received various awards, including the Gracie Award by the America Women in Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Edward R. Murrow Award. In 2010 she became the 4th recipient of the Modern Language Association’s Phyllis Franklin Award for Public Advocacy of the Humanities. In 2011, she received the Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community. In 2015, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received the 2015 National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Gross is the author of All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists, published by Hyperion in 2004. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., she received a bachelor’s degree in English and master of education degree in communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her alma mater awarded her a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993 and an honorary degree in 2007. She’s also received honorary degrees from Princeton University, Haverford College and Drexel University. She gave the commencement address at Vassar College in 2007 and Bryn Mawr College in 2014.
The Max Rosenn Lecture in Law and Humanities was established at Wilkes University in 1980 in recognition of Judge Rosenn’s exceptional contributions to public service. It was established by his former law clerks, his law firm, Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, family and friends. Past speakers include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bryan Stevenson, Anna Deavere Smith, Anthony Lewis, Cory Booker and Bob Woodward.