Park Graduate and Groundbreaker

black and white headshot of Jessica Savitch

Jessica Savitch

Jessica Savitch, a 1968 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications Television-Radio program,  broke through many of barriers that women in broadcasting faced at that time, eventually becoming the Saturday anchor for NBC Nightly News and their Washington -based reporter in 1977. 

A native of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Jessica Savitch began her broadcasting career at age 14, working on a radio rock show for teenagers. While earning her degree in the television-radio department at Ithaca College, she was an announcer for the College’s television station, WICB, and worked in radio at Rochester’s WBBF. After graduating in 1968, she joined WCBS radio in New York City. She moved to television at KHOU in Houston and in 1972 became the news anchor at KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

After joining NBC in 1977, she additionally hosted the PBS documentary series Frontline. Her work was widely respected and won many honors, including an Emmy.

Throughout her career, Savitch remained closely involved with her alma mater, returning to Ithaca periodically to teach a minicourse on television news. She gave the main address at the College’s 1979 commencement, at which she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. In 1980 she was elected to the Ithaca College Board of Trustees.

Savitch tragically died in an automobile accident in 1983.

The Park School’s  television Studio A is named in honor of Savitch.  Additionally, The Jessica Savitch Communications Scholarship was established through gifts from her family, associates, and friends to support students in the Roy H. Park School of Communications who demonstrate excellence, achievement, and promise in the field of broadcast journalism.

You can learn more about her remarkable career at this website dedicated to her.