New York Times Correspondent to Speak at Ithaca College Commencement on Sunday, May 22

By David Maley, May 17, 2016

New York Times Correspondent to Speak at Ithaca College Commencement on Sunday, May 22

ITHACA, NY—New York Times correspondent Adam B. Ellick will return to his alma mater to deliver the main address at Ithaca College’s 121st Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22. A 1999 journalism graduate, Ellick is best known as the reporter who first brought Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai to the attention of the world.

Ellick — who will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree — will speak to some 1,332 graduates and their guests at the 10 a.m. ceremony at Butterfield Stadium. Also making remarks at Commencement will be Ithaca College president Tom Rochon, senior class president Marlowe Padilla and board of trustees chairman Tom Grape ’80.

The college will also be recognizing two other individuals for distinguished service and accomplishments in their respective fields:

  • Philanthropist and businessman Kenneth Fisher '80, chairman and chief executive officer of the Fisher House Foundation, will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree. The foundation provides housing where families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans can be near their loved ones, as well as scholarships for veterans, their spouses and their children.
  • Francisco J. Núñez, founder and artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus (YPC) of New York City, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree. A MacArthur Fellow, Núñez has used the YPC to heighten an awareness of the ability of children of any cultural or economic background to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry, while also enriching the broader community in which they live.

The graduation ceremony is open to the public. It can be viewed locally on Time Warner Cable channel 16 as well as online at

As a senior video correspondent for The Times, Ellick told the story in 2009 of Malala’s brave defiance of the Taliban in advocating for the education of girls. Malala was later shot and seriously wounded by a gunman, and in 2014 she became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

A video Ellick co-produced in December of 2015 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize last month. “The Killing of Farkhunda” tells the story of an Afghan woman who was falsely accused of burning the Koran and subsequently killed by a male mob in central Kabul. The short documentary was produced exclusively from eyewitness video shot on mobile phones by onlookers and the attackers themselves.

Since last July, Ellick has served as a deputy editor at The Times, working on a small leadership team overseeing 50 video staffers and rethinking the strategic vision for the newspaper’s video coverage. His honors include the 2010 Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting about South Asia and the Justice Award from the Cinema for Peace Foundation. In 2015, the Ithaca College Alumni Association presented him with the Humanitarian Alumni Award.

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