What’s in the Name on Your Diploma?

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be

For a certain stratum of the American middle class, a college acceptance letter is the culminating moment in the lives of children—and their parents. But is our obsession with college rankings and prestige overblown? Have we lost sight of what matters? And have our universities, in their quest for exclusivity, done the same? New York Times columnist Frank Bruni visits Zócalo with Arizona State University president Michael M. Crow to ask what universities are for. In advance of their discussion, below is an excerpt from Bruni’s new book, Where …

More In: Readings

The University of Everywhere

The End of College

The Japanese television crew and excitable L.A. producer were the first signs that something unusual was happening at MIT.

It was a warm evening in April, barely a week after a …

The 10 Best Books We Read This Year

Zócalo Anoints These 2014 Nonfiction Titles Instant Classics

Why bother reading new books when there are too many great classics for one person to finish in a lifetime? Because people keep writing new classics. Zócalo’s top 10 nonfiction …

The Explosion That Stopped the Subway


How did rail gain a foothold in a car culture city? UCLA and UC Berkeley legal, business, and environmental scholar Ethan N. Elkind used archival documents, contemporary news accounts, and …

When L.A. Is the End of the Line


Trains changed the world, but then cars and planes came along, and they became a tertiary form of transportation, particularly in the U.S. But journalist and Chapman University English scholar …

Have Our Politicians Become Boring?

All the Truth Is Out

Have our politicians gotten more boring? Yes, says Yahoo! News national political columnist Matt Bai. New technology—both social media and the 24-hour cable news cycle—have made political candidates particularly cautious …