Author and Founder of “The Onion” Scott Dikkers to Present MCLA’s 2022 Hardman Lecture

September 16, 2022

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome Scott Dikkers, author, comedy writer, and founder of humor website The Onion, on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, when he will present MCLA’s Hardman Lecture, “Fake News in the Age of Misinformation. The History of The Onion and How the Philosophies and Practices Have Adapted Over Time,” at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

This lecture event is free and open to the public. This series presents in-depth discussions with some of the leading journalists of our time and is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment. 

With The Onion, Dikkers created a small college humor publication and grew it into one of today’s most recognized comedy platforms on He’ll share his experiences about how being committed to a unique vision—and standing firm in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and threats—can translate into genuine differentiation and robust brand equity for any organization. 

As co-founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion, Dikkers has a deep appreciation of the improbable. It’s a quality that not only describes how he created a celebrated comedy institution, but also of his escape from dire childhood circumstances.  

A small, shy kid, Dikkers endured an upbringing marked by poverty, divorce, bullying, and even a suicide attempt at the age of eight. He found solace and inspiration from MadMagazine, the groundbreaking satirical publication, which fed his passion for comedy and later helped inspire him to create The Onion. 

Dikkers has written multiple comedy books, including the bestselling How to Write Funny and Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source, which sold over a million copies, debuting as a No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 Amazon bestseller, and Our Dumb World, which also debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. 

The author’s work has won him a Peabody award, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and dozens of Webby Awards. In addition, Dikkers earned the No. 43 spot on Time magazine’s list of the Top 50 “Cyber Elite” alongside such iconic figures as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and George Lucas. 

In his latest book, Outrageous Marketing: The Story of The Onion and How to Build a Powerful Brand with No Marketing Budget, and his many speaking engagements, Dikkers details how he staffed the company with quirky individuals who often had unstable family environments similar to his and shared his dark sense of humor.  

In the Hardman Lecture, Dikkers will reflect on the freedom and support he gave his writing team that enabled The Onion to break through the noise in a media-saturated landscape, overcome doubters and legal obstacles, and prove time and again that being outrageous leads to the best possible version of a brand. He will also dive into some of the most basic principles that can help transcend an organization’s marketing limitations, get the best work out of the employees, and attract devoted lifelong customers. 

A student and faculty question and answer session will be held at 4:15 p.m. in the Freel Library on Thursday, September 29 prior to the evening lecture.  

Dikkers performs, writes, and animates a weekly TV show, Scott Dikkers Around, that’s available on podcast streaming platforms.

Upcoming fall lecturers at MCLA will include New York Times Bestselling Author and the Chair of Princeton’s Department of African Studies, Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., who will present the 2022 Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture, “Race & Democracy: America is Always Changing, But America Never Changes” on Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. at the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.  

About MCLA:
At MCLA, we’re here for all — and focused on each — of our students. Classes are taught by educators who care deeply about teaching, and about seeing their students thrive on every level of their lives. Nearly 93% of our graduates land competitive jobs or are accepted by some of the best grad schools in the country. We engage in the most nationally relevant conversations by hosting some of the most celebrated thinkers and speakers on our campus in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, an area known for its mountain ranges, hiking trails, and panoramic views. Our home town of North Adams is brimming with young, creative energy and the regional economy is booming as a result. In nearly every way possible, the experience at MCLA is designed to elevate you as an individual, a leader, and a communicator, fully empowered to make your impression on the world. 

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