NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will deliver Fordham’s 166th commencement speech on May 21.
Williams is seen by more U.S. television news viewers on a daily basis than any other American. He has become the most highly decorated evening news anchor of the modern era, and NBC Nightly News is the most-watched newscast in all of television.
Williams began his broadcasting career in 1981 at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kan. He worked at several local stations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City before joining NBC News in 1993. A few years later, he became NBC’s chief White House correspondent and then anchor and managing editor of The News With Brian Williams on MSNBC and CNBC.
In 2004, he took over as anchor of NBC Nightly News, the nation’s top-rated nightly news program, a distinction it has maintained throughout Williams’ tenure in the anchor chair. Two years later, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Williams’ coverage of world events has earned him high praise and several citations for journalistic excellence, many of which were awarded for his work covering Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The New York Times said his reporting of Katrina was “a defining moment” and Vanity Fair later called his work “Murrow-worthy” and reported that during the crisis he became “a nation’s anchor.”
In addition, he was the first NBC News correspondent to reach Baghdad during the 2003 war in Iraq, and was part of a U.S. Army helicopter mission that was forced down by enemy fire south of Najaf. He nonetheless has returned to Iraq several times, in addition to recent travels to Afghanistan and Iran.
Williams is a native of Middletown, N.J., where he was a firefighter for several years. Before his start in broadcasting, Williams worked in the White House during the Carter administration, beginning as an intern. He later worked as assistant administrator of the political action committee of the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. He attended Brookdale Community College, Catholic University and George Washington University, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.