Adam Schlesinger, Class of 1989

You knew it might be wrong . . . but you were in love with the dream of a life in music. It began humbly with a summer gig, playing piano at The Seafood Shanty on Martha’s Vineyard, but, hey, things could only look up. And soon they did thanks to the song writing moxie that you started developing at the age of nine. With classmate Chris Collingwood, you formed Fountains of Wayne, whose sharp lyrics and tight harmonies climbed the charts and put you all over MTV. You also wrote and played bass for the groups Ivy and Tinted Windows, touring the U.S. and Europe with wry songs about life amid the middle class, middle teen years, and even middle management. Other performers recognized your talent and wanted a piece. Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson—all of them have featured your work. You have also written for stage and screen and the likes of Hugh Grant, Sarah Silverman, and Neil Patrick Harris. Watch an award show and you are probably the guy who wrote the opening song. In fact, you have become “one of the most sought after and prolific songwriters working today” and even “one of the most nimble artists in the music industry.” If this is a dream, it is one that we, and an array of musical stars, hope keeps goin’ on.

In recognition of your distinguished achievement in music, Williams
College is proud to honor you with its Bicentennial Medal.

September 16, 2017