Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour will deliver the commencement address on May 12 to the graduates of Holy Names University (HNU) in Oakland.
“We’re extremely fortunate that Gwen Ifill will speak to Holy Names University’s 2012 graduating class,” said. HNU President William J. Hynes, Ph.D.
“Her distinguished career and numerous journalism achievements provide a benchmark for attaining excellence in a chosen field. Ms. Ifill is an outstanding example to young people for what they, too, can achieve,” he said.
Her journalism career includes assignments at the Boston Herald-American, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and NBC News, where she was a colleague of Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.
Each week on Washington Week, she leads a roundtable discussion with award-winning journalists who provide reporting and analysis of major stories emanating from the nation’s capital. Now in its 42nd year on the air, Washington Week is the longest-running, primetime news and public affairs program on television.
Ifill has covered six Presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates – in 2004 the debate between Republican Dick Cheney and Democrat John Edwards and in 2008 the debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin.
She is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” (Doubleday, 2009).
The daughter of an impoverished minister, Ifill had a strong religious upbringing. Her parents were both immigrants: her father from Panama and her mother from Barbados. She is one of six children and grew up in New York.
She went to Simmons College in Boston where she majored in communications, and, through an internship, got her first hands-on experience as a journalist. After graduating in 1977, she went to work for the Boston Herald-American as a reporter.