Schar School Welcomes Degree Celebration Keynote Speaker, PBS’s Judy Woodruff

Photo of PBS anchor Judy Woodruff
Judy Woodruff: ‘[O]ur country is strongest when it finds its way past political polarization, to a place where we can respect our many differences, and above all, value truth.’

PBS NewsHour is one of the longest-running and most influential news programs in the country. And since 2013, the anchor of that hour-long show has come to be regarded as a calming influence for the nation, someone who at the end of a frenzied day of chaos and calamity puts us at ease with her trademark even-handed tenor.

Thank goodness for Judy Woodruff.

Woodruff will deliver the keynote address during the Schar School of Policy and Government’s Degree Celebration at EagleBank Arena on the George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus on May 19 at 2 p.m.

Woodruff, a former public policy visiting professor at her alma mater, Duke University, is the anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour, the no-nonsense, comprehensive, national program that draws on her more than four decades of experience.

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating with the graduates of the Schar School, who’ll be called on to lead in an era when we need principled leadership more than ever,” she said. “In my remarks I hope to build on what I’ve learned as a journalist: that our country is strongest when it finds its way past political polarization, to a place where we can respect our many differences, and above all, value truth.”

Woodruff served as White House correspondent for NBC News from 1977 to 1982, followed by one year as chief Washington correspondent for NBC’s The Today Show. She joined PBS in 1983 as chief Washington correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and from 1984 to 1990 she anchored PBS’ award-winning documentary series, “Frontline with Judy Woodruff.”

After moving to CNN in 1993, she served for 12 years as an anchor and senior correspondent, anchoring the weekday program, Inside Politics, among other duties. She returned to the NewsHour in 2007, and in 2013, she and the late Gwen Ifill were named the first two women to co-anchor a national news broadcast. After Ifill’s death, Woodruff was named sole anchor in 2018. From 2006 to 2013, she anchored a monthly program for Bloomberg Television, “Conversations with Judy Woodruff.”

In 2006, she was a visiting professor at Duke University's Terry Sanford School of Public Policy. In 2005, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She serves on the boards of trustee of the Freedom Forum, the Duke Endowment, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and is a director of Public Radio International and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

She is the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees and numerous awards, most recently the 2020 Peabody Award for Journalistic Integrity, the Radcliffe Medal, the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, and the Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. She is the author of This is Judy Woodruff at the White House, published in 1982. Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.