The College of Charleston’s Department of Communication will honor columnist, speechwriter and ONE senior advisor Michael Gerson with its Distinguished Communicator Award. Gerson will deliver a speech at 3 p.m., Thursday, October 6, at the Stern Center Ballroom on the College of Charleston campus. Gerson’s speech is open to the public. There is no charge for admission.

Gerson will be the 12th recipient of the Distinguished Communicator award. Other winners include Sports

Illustrated senior writer Gary Smith; Pulitzer Prize‐winning columnist Kathleen Parker; satirist Christopher Buckley; former NBC White House correspondent John Palmer; and former U.S. Sen. “Fritz” Hollings.

Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post. He is the author of Heroic Conservatism (HarperOne, 2007) and co‐author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (Moody, 2010). Gerson is a Senior Advisor at ONE, a bipartisan organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases. He serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, the Board of Directors of Bread for the World, the Initiative for Global Development Leadership Council and the Board of the Center for U.S. Global Leadership. From 2006 to 2009, Gerson was the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Before joining CFR in 2006, Gerson was a top aide to President George W. Bush as Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning. He was a key administration advocate for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the fight against global sex trafficking, and funding for women’s justice and empowerment issues. Prior to that appointment, he served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Speechwriting and Assistant to the President for Speechwriting and Policy Advisor. Gerson joined Bush’s presidential campaign in early 1999 as chief speechwriter and a senior policy adviser.

He was previously a senior editor covering politics at U.S. News and World Report. Gerson was a speechwriter and policy adviser for Jack Kemp and a speechwriter for Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential campaign. He also served Senator Dan Coats of Indiana as Policy Director. Gerson is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. He grew up in the St. Louis area and now lives with his wife and sons in northern Virginia. “We are honored to present this award to Michael Gerson,” said Beth Goodier, chair of the Communication Department, “he is a thought leader who has used the power of communication to affect change at the national and global level. ”

The Department of Communication is one of the largest majors of the College of Charleston. The department enrolls more than 700 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. Students in the department study such subjects as public relations, journalism, political communication, interpersonal communication, and health communication.