Posted July 10, 2014

NBC’s Brian Williams to receive 2014 Lew Klein award

NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will receive the 2014 Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award from Temple University’s School of Media and Communication this fall.

Williams will be honored Sept. 26 as the school presents the 14th annual Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards. The awards, named for a television-industry pioneer who has taught at the school for the past 60 years, also will recognize six alumni who have excelled in the news and communication industries.

Past recipients of the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award include Whoopi Goldberg, Anderson Cooper, Ed Bradley, Robin Roberts and Matt Lauer.

“In every era, there is a broadcast journalist who represents excellence by which others are measured,” said Dean David Boardman. “We are thrilled to have Brian Williams come to Temple to receive this recognition and to spend time with our students, faculty, alumni and friends.”

The Klein Awards will be held in Temple’s Mitten Hall, starting with a reception in the Owl Cove at 11:15 a.m. The awards luncheon, where Williams will serve as guest speaker, will be held in the Great Court at 12:15 p.m. The alumni winners will be honored with documentary profiles about their careers. Following the luncheon, current SMC students will attend “A Conversation with Brian Williams” in the Temple Performing Arts Center.

Five of the honored alumni, nominated by their peers, will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. They are:

Tracy Davidson, SMC ’06, a reporter and anchor at NBC 10 in Philadelphia.

Gerhart L. (Jerry) Klein, SMC ’70, LAW ’80, executive vice president of the Anne Klein Communications Group.

Larry Margasak, SMC ’65, a longtime reporter at the Associated Press Washington Bureau, now retired.

John Oates, SMC ’70, musician and songwriter of the Hall and Oates duo, recently inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

Claire Smith, SMC ’79, a pioneer for women in sports journalism, a former reporter for The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer who is now a news editor at ESPN.

The final honoree is Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway, SMC ’06, who will receive the 2014 Rising Star Award. Avakian-Hardaway is the director of communications and marketing at the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Lew Klein was among the judges who chose the winners.

“There were so many worthy nominations this year,” said Klein. “It was extremely difficult to select only six honorees. It is a reflection of how many SMC graduates are enjoying a successful career.”

Williams, who early in his career worked at Philadelphia’s WCAU-TV, recently aired an hour-long interview with Edward Snowden, the CIA whistleblower’s first interview on American television.

The anchor started his career in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1981. Since then, he has been honored with 11 Edward R. Murrow awards, 12 Emmy Awards, the DuPont-Columbia University Award, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the George Foster Peabody Award. In 2006, Time magazine named Williams one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

“A highlight will be the informal conversation Brian will have with 400 students,” said Klein. “Following the tradition set by Whoopi Goldberg, Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer and Robin Roberts, the exchange is an exciting and memorable opportunity for the students.”

Proceeds from the Klein Awards support approximately two dozen scholarships for SMC students each year.