Honoring Woodruff

October 1, 2009
Woodruff: distinguished journalist, analyst, alumna.

Woodruff: distinguished journalist, analyst, alumna. Getty Images for Meet the Press

For more than three decades, broadcast journalist Judy C. Woodruff '68, Hon. '98 has provided informed news coverage and sharp political analysis for CNN, NBC, and PBS. She's taught courses on media and politics at Duke; been a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; and served on numerous boards, including Duke's board of trustees from 1985 to 1997.

This spring, Woodruff's alma mater named her the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, to be presented during Founders' Day ceremonies on October 1. Established in 1983 as the highest honor granted by the Duke Alumni Association, the award is given to alumni who have made significant contributions in their own fields, in service to the university, or for the betterment of humanity. Woodruff was selected from nominations made by Duke alumni, faculty members, trustees, administrators, and students.

As an undergraduate, Woodruff pursued opportunities that informed her lifelong interests in the media and politics. She was active in the student union, on the publications board, and in student government. She majored in political science and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

After graduating, she worked for a TV station in Atlanta, where she quickly distinguished herself as a talented anchor. In less than a decade, she was working as chief White House correspondent for NBC News, and as a Washington correspondent for The Today Show. In 1983, she joined The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS; she hosted that network's Frontline newsmagazine from 1984 to 1990. From 1993 to 2005, Woodruff was senior correspondent for CNN, where she anchored the weekday program Inside Politics. In 2006, she returned to PBS, where she is now senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

In 2006, Woodruff began working on an extensive project on the values and aspirations of young Americans called Generation Next. Two hour-long documentaries aired on many PBS stations in January and September 2007, along with a series of reports on the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, on NPR, and in USA Today. She was also a guest correspondent for Muslims in America, a 2006 series on NPR's Morning Edition.

Throughout her journalism career, Woodruff has maintained close ties to Duke. In addition to her service on the board of trustees, she has been involved with the Baldwin Scholars Program, Women's Studies, and the Financial Aid Initiative. In 2007, she taught a seminar on media and politics at the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy of what is now the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women's Media Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting and encouraging women in communication industries worldwide. She serves on the boards of Freedom Forum, the Newseum, and Global Rights: Partners for Justice. She also serves as a member of The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and on the board of the Museum of American History.

She is married to Al Hunt, formerly of CNN and The Wall Street Journal, now executive editor of the Bloomberg News Washington bureau. They have three children, Lauren, Benjamin, and Jeffrey.