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Grammy winner Lou Reed to receive Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor at New York City event April 26
Grammy winner Lou Reed to receive Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor at New York City event April 26April 19, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Lou Reed ’64 will be honored April 26 during a special event at the W Hotel Union Square in New York City, where he will be awarded the George Arents Pioneer Medal, Syracuse University’s highest alumni award. Reed, who is widely recognized as having had an unparalleled influence on the American music scene, is also known for his work as a writer and photographer. His Arents Award will be for Excellence in the Arts.
The Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors annually selects recipients of the award based on excellence in a recipient’s field of endeavor. Other recipients of the award include U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. G’68, Lt. Col. Eileen Collins ’78, Ted Koppel ’60, H’82, Albert Maysles ’49, William Safire ’51 and Aaron Sorkin ’83.
During the special dinner, Oscar Hijuelos, the first Hispanic American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, will give a tribute to Reed. Honorary hosts of the evening include music and entertainment industry executives Martin Bandier ’62 and John Sykes ’77, journalist Steve Kroft ’67, writer Jay McInerney G’86, hotelier Ian Schrager ’68 and author and poet Mary Karr, who is a professor of creative writing at SU. Rick Dobbis ’70, chairman of Rick Dobbis Organization Global, will serve as the emcee.
While earning his degree in English from SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Reed befriended his creative writing teacher, poet Delmore Schwartz, and later dedicated several songs to his mentor. These include “European Son” on The Velvet Underground’s debut disc, as well as “My House,” released on “The Blue Album,” his solo disc released in 1982.
“Lou Reed — musician, poet and photographer — has created an array of artistic works with a tremendous span and reach,” says Cathryn R. Newton, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences. “His literary studies with the renowned Delmore Schwartz here in Arts and Sciences have a distinct influence on his various works, and we admire his many artistic contributions.”
During the evening, the University will announce the Lou Reed/Delmore Schwartz Scholarship, an $8,000-a-year scholarship program for English majors interested in creative writing. A new student will be selected for this prestigious scholarship every four years.
Always attempting to record music that is lyrically and musically meaningful, the singer/songwriter has had a long and distinguished career spanning four decades, first with his work as leader of The Velvet Underground — for which he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member — and then as a solo artist.
Reed’s long musical journey has been varied, covering rock `n’ roll and theatrical glam rock, to more avant-garde material like his album “Berlin,” released in 1973. Reed’s biggest hit single to date came in 1972 with the release of “Walk on the Wild Side,” a song produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson that looked to the burgeoning glam rock scene for inspiration.
After touring in Europe and across the United States in 2006, Reed is busier than ever. In recent years, he has delved into the world of photography, citing artists like Andy Warhol and Wim Wenders as influences. His first book of photography has been published, and his work has been displayed in New York City and abroad. Reed has also taken one of his most thought-provoking albums, “Berlin,” and staged the work as a concert, complete with his band, guest singers, strings, brass and a children’s choir. The show ran in New York City last December and in Sydney, Australia, in January.
The Arents medal is named for George Arents, former chair of SU’s Board of Trustees. In 1939, Arents endowed a fund to provide for the Arents Pioneer Medals to be awarded annually.