Sim­mons nam­ing me­dia col­lege for late jour­nal­ist


Sim­mons Col­lege is hon­or­ing Gwen Ifill’s “clas­sic suc­cess story” by nam­ing a new me­dia col­lege af­ter the late pow­er­house jour­nal­ist and 1977 grad­u­ate best known for co-host­ing PBS’ “NewsHour.”

“She’s just a clas­sic suc­cess story for us that we’re so proud to at­tach to Sim­mons Col­lege,” Sim­mons Col­lege Pres­i­dent He­len Dri­nan told the Her­ald yes­ter­day.

“She took ev­ery­thing we had to of­fer and made it into a fan­tas­tic ca­reer and con­tin­u­ously gave back,” Dri­nan said. “I am cer­tain that this will at­tract other stu­dents who are in­ter­ested in Gwen’s kind of jour­nal­ism.”

The pri­vate women’s col­lege in the city an­nounced yes­ter­day the for­ma­tion of the “Gwen Ifill Col­lege of Me­dia, Arts, and Hu­man­i­ties.”

The col­lege will be one of the four newly re­con­sti­tuted colleges. The col­lege bear­ing Ifill’s name will launch next year, of­fi­cials said.

Ifill died last year of can­cer. She co-hosted PBS’ “NewsHour” and mod­er­ated two vice-pres­i­den­tial de­bates.

She in­terned at the then Bos­ton Her­ald Amer­i­can and launched her pro­fes­sional ca­reer there, where she was hired fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion.

Ifill is also a for­mer re­porter for The New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post. She jumped to tele­vi­sion in the 1990s and cov­ered pol­i­tics for NBC News.

In 2009, Ifill de­liv­ered the com­mence­ment speech at Sim­mons.

Dri­nan said of that mo­ment: “She had great hu­mil­ity. She never felt there was any­one not worth her time. She had a special mes­sage for those girls, you can do any­thing that you work hard for.”

Sarah-Ann Shaw, a for­mer long­time WBZ re­porter and friend of Ifill, said news of Ifill’s honor had her “al­most in tears.”

Ifill was a “per­son who cared about peo­ple and the truth in jour­nal­ism,” Shaw said.

She hap­pily re­called when she taught a broad­cast jour­nal­ism class at Sim­mons Col­lege and Ifill was her stu­dent.

“At that time, AfricanAmer­i­cans didn’t have very much ex­po­sure, op­por­tu­ni­ties to get ahead. ... I told her not to go into tele­vi­sion,” Shaw said with a hearty laugh.

“Was I wrong? Sure, I was. And I’m glad she didn’t pay at­ten­tion to me.”


‘sUC­Cess sTorY’: sim­mons Col­lege will name a new me­dia col­lege af­ter alumna and jour­nal­ist gwen Ifill.

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