Journalist Judy Woodruff to deliver Commencement address

Publication Date

Award-winning broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff will be the featured speaker at Union’s 217th Commencement, College officials announced today.

Approximately 500 students in the Class of 2011 will receive degrees during the ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday, June 12, on Hull Plaza.

 Judy Woodruff

Woodruff, who has covered every presidential election since 1976, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

The College will also award an honorary doctor of letters to poet Marvin Bell. He was nominated by Jordan Smith, professor of English. Bell was Smith’s thesis adviser at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, where Bell was the Flannery O’Connor Professor of Letters until his retirement in 2005.

Woodruff’s appearance will conclude an academic year which featured programs focusing on women and their unique contributions to society during the College’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of co-education at Union.

“We are delighted to have one of the most respected and accomplished journalists in the country as our speaker,” said College President Stephen C. Ainlay. “Not only has Ms. Woodruff covered some of the biggest and most important stories of our time, but she has served as a wonderful role model for women everywhere.”

Woodruff has covered news and politics on a national level for more than three decades, including CNN, NBC and PBS. She was named senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS in 2007, serving as editor of the show’s 2008 political coverage. In 2009, she became senior correspondent and co-anchor of the redesigned “The PBS NewsHour.”

In addition, she anchors a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, “Conversations with Judy Woodruff.”

In 2007, Woodruff completed a project on the views of young Americans, “Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard,” which resulted in two hour-long documentaries that aired on PBS.

A graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita, Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women's Media Foundation. She is the recent recipient of the Cine Lifetime Achievement award, a Duke Distinguished Alumni award and the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism/Television.