Lehrer, the award-winning executive editor and anchor of The
News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, will deliver the Commencement
address at Penn's 246th Commencement on Monday, May 13. The procession
enters Franklin Field at 9:30 a.m., the ceremony begins at 10:15
a.m. and concludes at noon. Approximately 6,000 degrees will be
in Wichita, Kansas, in 1934, Mr. Lehrer received an A.A. degree
from Victoria College in Texas and a B.J. in 1956 from the University
of Missouri before joining the Marine Corps. From 1959 to 1966,
he was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and then the
Dallas Times-Herald. He was also a political columnist at
the Times-Herald for several years and in 1968 became that
paper's city editor.
Lehrer's newspaper career led him to public television, first in
Dallas as KERA-TV's executive director of public affairs, on-air
host and editor of a nightly news program. He subsequently moved
to Washington, DC, to serve as the public affairs coordinator for
PBS, and was also a member of PBS's Journalism Advisory Board and
a fellow at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Mr. Lehrer
went on to join the National Public Affairs Center for Television
(NPACT) as a correspondent.
was Mr. Lehrer's work with NPACT that led to his initial association
with Robert MacNeil and, ultimately, to their long-term partnership.
In 1973, they teamed up to provide NPACT's continuous live coverage
of the Senate Watergate hearings, broadcast on PBS. Following that
Emmy-winning collaboration, Mr. Lehrer was the solo anchor for PBS
coverage of the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry
1975, the half-hour Robert MacNeil Report, with Jim Lehrer
as the Washington correspondent, premiered on channel Thirteen/WNET
New York. Over the next seven years, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report
(as it was renamed in 1976) won more than 30 awards for journalistic
excellence. In 1983, Lehrer and MacNeil launched their most ambitious
undertaking, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. The 1995-96 season
marked the 20th year of their show, as well as Mr. MacNeil's departure
and Mr. Lehrer's stewardship of the program in its new incarnation,
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Mr. Lehrer has been
honored with numerous awards for journalism, including the 1999
National Humanities Medal, presented by then President Bill Clinton
and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Lehrer was inducted into
the Television Hall of Fame with Mr. MacNeil and into The Silver
Circle of the Washington, DC, Chapter of The National Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences. He has won two Emmys, the Fred Friendly
First Amendment Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award,
and the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit
and the University of Missouri School of Journalism's Medal of Honor.
In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts
the last four presidential elections, Mr. Lehrer has served as a
moderator for nine of the nationally televised debates among the
candidates. He has hosted the Emmy Award-nominated "Debating
Our Destiny: Forty Years of Presidential Debates," in which
he interviewed former presidential and vice presidential candidates
about their debate experiences.
Lehrer is also the author of 12 novels, two memoirs and three plays.
His latest book, The Special Prisoner, was published in May
2000. A made-for-TV movie of The Last Debate aired in the
fall of 2000 on the Showtime Channel. His 13th novel, No Certain
Rest, will be published in 2002.