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Jessica Savitch Endowed Programs

This programming is sponsored by an endowment created in honor of broadcast journalist, groundbreaker, and Park alumna Jessica Savitch.

Jessica Savitch Awardees

Because of our on-campus programming being halted due to COVID -19 in spring 2020, we did not present the Jessica Savitch award as planned. 

The Jessica Savitch "Breakthrough" award was presented in March 2019 to Laura Zelenko,  Bloomberg’s senior executive editor for diversity, talent, standards, and training.  This award was part of a panel of women in media featuring filmmaker Christine Vachon, former Food Network president Brooke Johnson, and Professor Stacy Smith, founder of the Inclusion Initiative housed at USC's Annenberg School of Communication.

The Park School of Communication previously presented an annual award for excellence in journalism in Jessica Savitch's name. Past recipients include:

  • 2017  Bruce Beck '78 - sports anchor for WNBC
  • 2016  Barbara Walters - retired host of Today, The View, 20/20, and the ABC Evening News
  • 2015  David Muir '95 and Diane Sawyer - ABC World News Tonight anchors (during which we also awarded David an honorary doctorate)

The Jessica Savitch Distinguished Journalism Lecture Series

The Savitch endowment has also provided funding to bring top journalists to campus.

  • Carl Quintanilla, Emmy Award–winning reporter and one of the principal anchors of CNBC's Squawk on the Street
  • Joy Bauer, Nutrition and Health Expert for NBC's TODAY
  • Sam Champion, Weather Anchor of Good Morning America and Weather Editor for ABC News
  • Nancy Snyderman M.D., Chief Medical Editor of NBC News
  • Jean Chatzky, award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and financial editor of NBC's Today
  • Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News, Weekend Edition; and co-host of Today, Weekend Edition
  • Natalie Morales, NBC News, Today national correspondent
  • David Muir '95, ABC News, anchor of World News Saturday and co-anchor of Primetime
  • Steve Capus, president of NBC News
  • Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR)
  • Dawn Fratangelo, news correspondent for Dateline NBC and substitute anchor on the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
  • John Seigenthaler, anchor, weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, contributing anchor on MSNBC cable, and anchor of MSNBC Investigates
  • John Palmer, former longtime NBC News correspondent
  • Sylvia Chase, ABC News correspondent, PrimeTime Thursday
  • Ann Curry, news anchor, NBC Today, and MSNBC Emmy Award-winning reporter
  • Catherine Crier, news journalist, state judge, trial lawyer, and host of the Fox News nightly show, The Crier Report
  • Cokie Roberts, ABC News program anchor
  • Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief White House correspondent
  • Betty Rollin, NBC News correspondent and author
  • Barrie Dunsmore, ABC News correspondent
  • Fred Francis, NBC News anchor
  • Carole Simpson, ABC News anchor and senior correspondent

Please note: Job titles and company associations listed above reflect the role each speaker had the year he/she served as the Jessica Savitch Distinguished Journalism Lecturer.

Jessica Savitch and IC

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. 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 died tragically in an automobile accident in 1983.