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Journalist Tom Redburn '72 Honored With Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award

Tom Redburn

Accomplished journalist Tom Redburn ’72, managing editor of the International Herald Tribune and soon to be international economics editor at The New York Times, is being honored with Pomona's 2012 Blaisdell Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Blaisdell honors alumni for their high achievement in their professions or community service, particularly those who have carried the spirit of the College into the rest of the world, living up to the quote inscribed on the College Gates: "They only are loyal to the college who departing bear their added riches in trust for mankind."

Prior to his four years in Paris at the International Herald Tribune, Redburn had various reporting and editing jobs at The New York Times, including deputy business editor and technology editor. He was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times for 14 years, both in Los Angeles and Washington DC, and was a reporter at the International Herald Tribune in the early 1990s. He is returning to the New York Times to spearhead coverage of economics for the foreign desk. Over the years, Redburn has reported on a variety of economics and business issues, and, as an editor, shepherded stories about financial upheavals from Enron to Greece, cultivating distinctive voices in the newsroom. 

“Pomona began my real education in reading and writing with rigor,” says Redburn. “There's been nothing more important in shaping my life and my career. As a journalist, my highest responsibility is to try to tell the truth, letting the chips fall where they may.”

At Pomona, Redburn majored in sociology and was an active participant in life at the College. His involvement was extensive: He was a member of the student committee for social change and a student-faculty committee on curriculum reform. He was named most valuable player in track and field, setting or tying school records in the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard run, and as a member of a sprint relay team. He was honored with the Blair Nixon Memorial Award, an annual award made to a senior student who exemplifies the high ideals of the College in scholarship, sportsmanship and organized athletic pursuits, and was later inducted into the Pomona College Sports Hall of Fame. Not surprisingly given his career choice, he was the opinion editor for The Student Life and editor of the literary magazine Spectator.

He and his wife Lisa ’72 have remained engaged with the College. Redburn has served on the College’s reunion gift committees and returned to campus to talk with students in the economics department; he and Lisa organized their 25th reunion book of remembrances.

“I had some great teachers at Pomona, in philosophy, economics, sociology and other subjects who influenced me profoundly,” recalls Redburn. “I spent four years with many amazing fellow students. I was able to participate in sports and campus affairs in ways that never would have been possible at a big university. I fell in love with the woman who became my wife. My life is what it is because of Pomona.”  

He counts himself fortunate to have lived in Europe and traveled to places like Tanzania, Egypt and Jordan, allowing him to roam through all levels of society around the world. In addition to the College, he cites his public school teacher parents and his opportunities as a reporter as his great influences. “My way of giving back is to do everything I can as an economics reporter and editor to report honestly, the best I can, on how economies work—for better and worse—and to try to explain injustices and wrongs where I see them,” says Redburn.