At this year’s commencement ceremonies for graduate students, the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees will confer an honorary doctoral degree on Howard Reich, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, author and longtime arts critic at the Chicago Tribune.
On Thursday evening, May 30, Reich will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the graduate ceremony and will deliver the commencement address.
The College will recognize Reich’s distinguished career and contributions, in particular his focus on the Holocaust and genocide. The son of two Holocaust survivors, Reich discovered his parents’ never-discussed story and brought it to the screen in Prisoner of Her Past, a PBS documentary he wrote, co-produced and narrated.
He brought this story to Elmhurst College in 2010 for that year’s Holocaust Lecture. He returned in 2017 to reflect on the work and legacy of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. At the time, Reich was developing his recently published book, The Art of Inventing Hope: Intimate Conversations with Elie Wiesel. Reich worked on the project with Wiesel during the last four years of Wiesel’s life. The two believed the volume would represent a valuable dialogue between generations profoundly affected by a cataclysmic event.
Reich has covered music and the arts for the Chicago Tribune since 1978, and currently is in post-production on his third documentary, Left-Handed Pianist, based on his Tribune stories about a man wounded by his father in childhood who launched his concert career at age 78.
In 2015 Reich won an Emmy Award for the documentary Kenwood’s Journey. He also has won eight Peter Lisagor Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and in 2011 the Chicago Journalists Association named him Chicago Journalist of the Year.