Journalist, cancer advocate and best-selling author Katie Couric comes to SMU Tuesday, Nov. 29, to deliver the Tolleson Lecture in the University’s 2011-12 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. The event begins at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
A fixture in national television news for more than 20 years, Couric enjoyed an unprecedented 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC News’ Today (1991-2006) and was the first solo female anchor of a national nightly news broadcast, as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric (2006-2011). At CBS News, Couric was also a contributor to 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning and CBS News primetime specials.
Couric has covered important international news stories including the bombing in Oklahoma City, the Clarence Thomas hearings, the terrorist attacks of September 11, the shooting at Columbine High School, the earthquake in Haiti, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the shooting in Tucson that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others. She has also covered eight Olympic Games, the funeral of Princess Diana and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011.
In addition to her career as an anchor and broadcast news reporter, Couric is the author of The New York Times bestseller, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives. In addition, she co-wrote two successful children’s books: The Brand New Kid and The Blue Ribbon Day. She is active in several social media platforms, including Twitter (@katiecouric) and Facebook.
The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2008 and 2009. The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism awarded Couric the Walter Cronkite Award for Special Achievement in 2009 for “National Impact on the 2008 Campaign.” In 2009, the University of South Dakota and Freedom Forum awarded her the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media.
In 2010, Couric was awarded an Alfred I. duPont Award for her interview with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric was awarded a second duPont for a series she conceived on the impact of the recession on children in America. She also received an Emmy for Outstanding Interview for her profile of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, entitled Saving Flight 1549.
After losing her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer in 1998, Couric became a public leader in the fight against the country’s second largest cancer killer. In March 2000, Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and cancer activist Lilly Tartikoff to fund cutting-edge research in colorectal cancer and generate awareness about the life-saving value of screening. She also helped co-found The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center – a comprehensive, fully integrated multi-disciplinary program that stresses education and prevention in addition to diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.
In addition, she is a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), an organization that has raised nearly $200 million in funds to accelerate research that can get new therapies to patients quickly.
Born in Arlington, Virginia, Couric graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on American Studies. She lives in New York City and has two daughters.
The evening lecture is sold out. Couric will meet with SMU journalism students and answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. The event is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.