2012 Speaker Bios

Randy Cohen
Randy Cohen is the host of Person Place Thing, produced by WAMC Northeast Public Radio. For twelve years he wrote “The Ethicist,” a weekly column for The New York Times Magazine, an experience he drew on to write his first ethics book, The Good, the Bad and the Difference. His new book, Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything, will be published by Chronicle in September 2012.

Cohen won three Emmy awards as a writer for Late Night with David Letterman and another for his work on Michael Moore’s TV Nation. He was also the original head writer on the The Rosie O’Donnell Show for which he also co-wrote the theme music. In 2010, his first play, The Punishing Blow, ran at New York’s Clurman Theater.
Photo by Adam Nadel.

Peter Elbow
Peter Elbow has written Oppositions in Chaucer, Writing without Teachers, Writing with Power, Embracing Contraries, What is English?, and (with Pat Belanoff) a textbook, A Community of Writers. He edited Voice and Writing, co-edited Nothing Begins with N: New Explorations of Freewriting as well as Writing to Learn: Strategies for Assigning and Responding to Writing in the Disciplines. He has published numerous essays on writing and teaching and evaluation. In 1986 he was awarded the Braddock prize for “The Shifting Relationships between Speech and Writing.” In 1994 he was awarded the James A. Berlin prize for “The War between Reading and Writing-and How to End It.”

He has taught at M.I.T., Franconia College, Evergreen State College, and SUNY Stony Brook where he also directed the Writing Program. He served on the Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association and the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Mignon Fogarty
Mignon Fogarty is the creator of Grammar Girl and the founder and managing director of Quick and Dirty Tips. A magazine writer, technical writer, and entrepreneur, she has served as a senior editor and producer at a number of health and science web sites. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.

Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. She strives to be a friendly guide in the writing world. Her arch enemy is the evil Grammar Maven who inspires terror in the untrained and is neither friendly nor helpful.

Leigh Gallagher
Leigh Gallagher is an Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune, where she edits feature stories on a variety of subjects and has responsibility for popular Fortune franchises including the “Best Companies to Work For” and the “40 Under 40” ranking of the most powerful young people in business. She is also currently working on a book about the future of suburbia to be published by Portfolio in early 2013.

Leigh is a seasoned business news commentator, appearing regularly on television outlets including CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Erin Burnett OutFront, Your Money and Your Bottom Line; CNBC’s Squawk Box, Power Lunch and Closing Bell; MSNBC’s Morning Joe and daily live programming; Fox News Channel’s Cavuto on Business and Your World with Neil Cavuto; CBS News’ Early Show, and more. She is also a biweekly guest on NPR’s Marketplace. Before joining Fortune in 2007, Leigh was a senior editor at SmartMoney magazine, where she edited the magazine’s consumer-oriented coverage. Before SmartMoney, she worked for six years as a writer and reporter for Forbes. Leigh is a graduate of Cornell University and lives in New York.
Photo by Joseph Moran.

Bernard L. Schwartz
Bernard L. Schwartz is chairman and CEO of BLS Investments, LLC, a private investment firm. He also manages the investments of the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation, which mainly supports higher education, medical research and New York City-based cultural organizations. He promotes the development of U.S. economic policy initiatives through investment in educational institutions, think tanks and advocacy organizations. Mr. Schwartz is also an active supporter of the Democratic Party. Prior to establishing BLS Investments in March 2006, Mr. Schwartz served for 34 years as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Loral Space & Communications and its predecessor company, Loral Corporation.

Mitchel B. Wallerstein
Dr. Mitchel B. Wallerstein became the President of Baruch College of the City University of New York on August 2, 2010. Baruch College is home to the nation’s largest collegiate business school as well as prominent Schools of Arts and Sciences and Public Affairs. It is known as one of the most diverse schools in the United States with a total student population, undergraduate and graduate, of approximately seventeen thousand. Prior to his appointment as president of Baruch College, Mitchel Wallerstein was the Dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University from 2003-2010, where he also held an appointment as a tenured professor of political science and public administration.