A memorial service for Carolyn Reidy, who died on May 12, celebrated the life of the publisher who touched so many lives in her many decades in publishing. Reidy had worked at Simon & Schuster for 29 years, having joined the company in 1992 and taking the role of CEO in 2008 until her death. The memorial was hosted on YouTube and drew some 400 viewers.
The program for the event featured a quote by Reidy: "“Books give us ways to see and know our world that are truly unique and help form and educate minds. And the interaction between the author’s words and the reader’s mind has its own kind of magic. In publishing, we are the shepherds to this gift of The Book, doing everything we can to help bring the author’s voice to the reader.”
Adam Rothberg, senior v-p of corporate communication at S&S, opened the event, noting that no matter what the challenges the team at S&S face, Reidy "always made me feel like we were all in it together."
Rothberg was followed by Jonathan Karp, who took over the role of CEO. He reflected on his long relationship with Reidy, and said she was "a constant and steady presence" in his life. Karp recounted how on the occasion of Reidy's 65th birthday he asked what it made her think about and Reidy replied without hesitation: "Life is not a rehearsal."
During the ceremony, Karp announced that S&S will be funding four Carolyn K. Reidy Memorial Scholarships, one each for the publishing institutes at Columbia University, New York University, Pace University and the University of Denver. The scholarships will be given to students from historically under-represented groups in publishing.
Reidy's husband, Stephen, acknowledged the generous contributions many people have made to Worldreader, Reidy's favorite charity, in her name. Others who shared memories and appreciation included Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation; author Joseph Kanon; Michael Selleck, former executive v-p for sales and marketing for S&S; author Doris Kearns Goodwin; Stephen Rubin, who joined S&S as a consulting publisher earlier this year; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and Susan Moldow, the retired president of the Scribner Publishing Group and publisher of Touchstone.
Clinton summed up what she felt was the spirit Reidy embodied with a quote from poet Mary Oliver:
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
Condolences and memories can be shared at RememberingCarolynReidy.com