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.