Journalist Judy Woodruff to give Founders’ Day address

Judy Woodruff

Journalist Judy Woodruff will be the speaker at Founders’ Day Convocation, which will be held at noon Friday, Oct. 16, and will open Sewanee’s 2015 Family Weekend. Woodruff will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters during the ceremony. The Convocation will include the conferral of three additional honorary degrees and the induction of new members into the Order of Gownsmen. The Convocation will be streamed live; watch it here.

George E. Core, longtime editor of the Sewanee Review, will receive an honorary doctor of letters; Jeanie Nelson, the founding CEO and president of the Land Trust for Tennessee, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law; and Samuel F. Pickering Jr., C’63, professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut and author of more than two dozen books, will receive an honorary doctor of letters.

Please note: Due to the number of Sewanee students receiving their gowns during Founders' Day Convocation, the University expects All Saints' Chapel to be filled to near capacity. Guests of students who are receiving their gowns will have tickets for the service. After those with tickets have been seated, seats may be available in the Chapel for other members of the University community who would like to attend the service. (Chapel doors will open at 11 a.m.) Guests are also welcome to watch the service streaming live in Guerry Auditorium or watch online.

Judy Woodruff (photo, above) is the co-anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour with Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. She has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC, and PBS. Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN; she was NBC News’ White House correspondent, and was the chief Washington correspondent for NBC’s Today Show and for PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Her book is titled This Is Judy Woodruff at the White House. She anchored Frontline with Judy Woodruff on PBS, and Conversations with Judy Woodruff for Bloomberg Television. She completed an extensive project on the views of young Americans, and was the principal reporter for a PBS documentary on Nancy Reagan. Woodruff is a graduate of Duke University. She has received the Cine Lifetime Achievement award, the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism, and the University of Southern California Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, among others.

george CoreGeorge Core began as editor of the Sewanee Review in September 1973 after having been senior editor of the University of Georgia Press. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Core earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Vanderbilt University and, after service in the U.S. Marine Corps, a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He taught literature at the University of Georgia, Davidson College, Vanderbilt, Emory University, and the University of the South. Core has been an active scholar and writer, publishing throughout his 43 years as editor. His articles and reviews have been published in the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the Southern Review, and others. Core has edited or coedited seven books primarily in the field of American literature, especially Southern literature. He has served three times on juries for the Pulitzer Prize committee, and he is a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Jeanie-NelsonJeanie Nelson is the founding CEO and president of the Land Trust for Tennessee, a statewide nonprofit organization that works to protect public and private land for the benefit of Tennesseans. Nelson co-founded the Land Trust in 1999 with former Nashville Mayor and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. Led by Nelson, the Land Trust and the University of the South completed in 2008 the purchase and permanent protection of 3,000 acres containing portions of Lost Cove and Champion Cove. She serves on the boards of directors for the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Land Trust Alliance. Nelson’s commitment to the state of Tennessee has been recognized with the Governor’s Award for Conservation, the 2001 Land Conservationist of the Year award, and the Tennessee Lifetime Achievement Award. Nelson earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt University. Her earlier career in law and government included roles as chief deputy attorney general for Tennessee and general counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

sam pickeringA Nashville native and member of Sewanee’s Class of 1963, Sam Pickering earned master’s degrees from Cambridge and Princeton and a Ph.D. from Princeton before embarking on a remarkable academic and literary career. Among his more than two dozen books are several works of literary history, travel memoirs, and volumes of the familiar essays for which he is best known, most recently All My Days Are Saturdays and The Splendour Falls. Pickering is equally well-known as a teacher who inspired students for 30 years as professor of English at the University of Connecticut. One of his students during his early teaching days at Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy was Tom Schulman, the screenwriter of the film Dead Poets Society. Pickering’s unconventional teaching style was one of the inspirations for the character of Mr. Keating, played by Robin Williams in the film. Pickering was elected in 2005 to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and has received numerous other recognitions for his distinction in writing.