Armando Montaño ’12 Memorial Lecture

May 2, 2017 — The first Armando Montaño ’12 Memorial Lecture, which celebrates the memory and honors the spirit of journalist Mando Montaño ’12, brought two Pulitzer Prize winners to campus on April 4, 2017. Writer Dale Maharidge and photographer Michael Williamson are longstanding friends of Mando’s parents, Diane Alters ’71 and Mario Montaño, and worked with Alters at The Sacramento Bee in the 1970s.

Before the lecture, Alters outlined the personal connections between Maharidge, Williamson, herself, and Mando. “I first met these two at The Sacramento Bee. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was meeting two young Mandos.” Maharidge was brought on to be the police reporter and quickly became friends with Alters, who was a reporter and part-time editor at the time. Williamson and Alters met when assigned to work together on a story about asbestos, which involved a visit to an asbestos mill. While Alters was talking to the owners, Williamson snuck onto the mill floor to interview the workers and photograph the conditions they worked in. Mando grew up with Maharidge and Williamson as aspirational figures whom he consulted as he prepared to be a journalist himself.

Maharidge and Williamson collaborated on And Their Children After Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South (Pantheon) and other books and specialize in covering poverty and other social issues. Maharidge is the author of ten books, most recently Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War (PublicAffairs 2013). He is on the faculty of the Columbia University Journalism School.

Williamson is a staff photographer at The Washington Post and shared a second Pulitzer in 2000 with two Post colleagues for their coverage of Kosovo. Both Maharidge and Williamson have been busy, of late, covering the policies of the Trump White House, especially the effects these policies have on marginalized communities. The journalists discussed their work together over the last 37 years, the trends they’ve seen across America in that time, and the importance of reportage in the current political climate.

Learn about the Mando challenge

An anonymous donor has also offered a dollar-for-dollar matching gift up to $25,000 for all gifts made to the Mando Fund through June 15, 2017. Learn more about the Mando challenge.