Brown assembly to feature biographer

Jack Goldfisher

A. Scott Berg, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning biographer whose writings on various subjects and personal life have made him capable of speaking on a wide array of topics, will be featured as this year’s Brown Family Speaker at an all-school assembly April 28.

Berg, a graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, has chronicled the lives of presidents, celebrities and public figures during his 36-year career. Most recently, Berg, who is renowned for his extensive research, published “Wilson,” a New York Times bestselling autobiography of the United States’ 28th president Woodrow Wilson. He has also written about the lives of aviator Charles Lindbergh, editor Max Perkins and actress Katharine Hepburn.

President Rick Commons worked with the Brown family to select Berg. Originally, they considered inviting Jason Collins ’97 to speak at the assembly, but after Collins signed a contract to play for the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of the NBA season, they debated not having any Brown speaker this year, Commons said.

However, Berg’s name came up in discussion and it seemed like a great fit, he said.

“He has an immense ability to teach,” Commons said. “And beyond that, he can talk to Cinema Studies classes, history classes and even the Gay-Straight Alliance.” However, Berg’s schedule may not allow him the time to speak to all of these groups.

Berg, who identifies as homosexual, has been a strong proponent of facilitating discussion about sexual orientation. He wrote the story of “Making Love,” a controversial 1982 film addressing the issues of gay relationships and coming out of the closet.

“[Berg] has a great sense of humor. He’s obviously very erudite, but he’s also relatable,” Commons said.