An Obituary for Joe Rago ‘05

Joseph Rago ‘05, former Editor-in-Chief of The Dartmouth Review and a Pulitzer Prize-winning member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, passed away on Thursday, July 20 at his home in New York City. He was 34.


Joe Rago

Joseph Rago ’05

In his time at the College, Rago was a brother of Phi Delta Alpha fraternity and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. Rago took an internship at The Wall Street Journal in 2005 and continued his career at the newspaper until his passing. He excelled in his career as an editorial writer, and was described by his colleagues as a “reporter’s opinion writer” in recognition of the depth of knowledge and research which went into his editorials. He particularly distinguished himself in the health care debate of 2009-2010, writing acerbic editorials in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for “against-the-grain editorials challenging the health care reform advocated by President Barack Obama.” More recently, Joe’s outstanding writing had focused on the Trump administration and various dealings in Washington. His final editorial, entitled “The Obamacare Republicans,” was published the day before his death.


We at The Review are deeply saddened by the news of Joseph Rago’s passing. Joe was a visionary journalist and a shining representative of our organization in his service on our board of directors. In this time of grieving, we honor his remarkable legacy as Editor-in-Chief of The Review and as a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at the Wall Street Journal and offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his friends and family.


Over the coming weeks, The Review intends to digitize and re-publish much of Joseph Rago’s work for The Review in order to showcase and memorialize his legacy as one of this paper’s – and this nation’s – finest, sharpest, and most powerful voices.

  • Elaine Levidow

    Joe Rago was brilliant, witty, honest, humble and all around great guy. A rare breed. I’ll miss you Joe. The country will miss you.