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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Author Tim O’Brien Named Macalester Distinguished Citizen

St. Paul, Minn. Tim O’Brien of Austin, Texas, has been named one of Macalester College’s 2007 Distinguished Citizens. O’Brien graduated from Macalester in 1968.

The Distinguished Citizen Citation recognizes alumni who have exercised leadership in civic, social, religious and professional activities. It is given because the Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees and the faculty of Macalester believe that a college education should be the training and inspiration for unselfish and effective service to the community, the nation and the world. Recipients demonstrate a practical acceptance of these obligations in their lives and work.

O’Brien graduated with honors in political science from Macalester, where he was also student government president. Although opposed to the Vietnam War, he went off to serve as a foot soldier in 1969–70 after he was drafted. He came home with a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantry Badge and experiences that he has transformed into literature. His critically acclaimed books include If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Send Me Home (1973), a memoir of his service; Going After Cacciato (1978), his classic novel about Vietnam, which received the National Book Award, and The Things They Carried (1990), a collection of stories based on his war experiences. The last of these was chosen by the New York Times as one of the most important works of fiction published in the last 25 years.

O’Brien teaches in the creative writing program at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,884 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.

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