Bob Woodruff ’83, former co-anchor of ABC News’s World News Tonight program, and his wife, journalist Lee McConaughy Woodruff ’82, will together deliver the keynote address at Colgate’s 186th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 20.
During the ceremonies, Colgate will award honorary degrees to the Woodruffs, along with baccalaureate speaker David Ellenson, President and I.H. and Anna Grancell Professor of Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR); Raymond Cross, President of Morrisville State College; Carrie Mae Weems, award-winning photographer; and John Golden ’66, outgoing chairman of Colgate’s Board of Trustees and founder of the financial advisory firm John A. Golden Associates.
One of ABC News’s top correspondents, Bob Woodruff joined the network in 1996 and has since covered countless international stories, including the war in Afghanistan, life behind the curtain in North Korea, and the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. He was a part of the ABC News team given an Alfred I. DuPont award for live coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.
Within weeks of being named co-anchor of World News Tonight in December 2005, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. At the time he was reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces in the area. He returned to work in the fall to develop a documentary about his journey and that of other soldiers with traumatic brain injury.
He and his wife Lee have also written a book titled In an Instant about their experiences that will be published at the end of February.
Before becoming a journalist, Woodruff served as a corporate lawyer and a teacher of law in Beijing. He earned a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987 and Bachelor’s degree from Colgate in 1983.
Lee Woodruff founded and has operated her own freelance writing and marketing business from home for several years. Previously, she worked as a vice president for Porter Novelli in New York and San Francisco and as an account supervisor for a public relations agency and at an American marketing firm in Beijing. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate in 1982. She and her husband have four children.
David Ellenson, who will deliver the sermon during the morning’s baccalaureate service, was ordained at HUC-JIR in 1977 and is the eighth president in the school’s 130-year history. He is a distinguished rabbi and scholar, teacher and leader of the Reform Movement. Associated with HUC-JIR for more than 30 years, he is a beloved teacher and mentor to generations of HUC-JIR students, and internationally recognized for his publications and research in the area of Jewish religious thought, ethics and modern Jewish history.
Raymond Cross joined Morrisville State College, a SUNY Agricultural and Technical College, as its president in April 1998. Previously president and CEO of Northwest Technical College in Minnesota and head of the Engineering Technologies Department at Ferris State University in Michigan, he has worked for and consulted extensively with the auto industry.
Carrie Mae Weems, a native of Portland, Ore., earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, in 1981, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, San Diego, in 1984. She also pursued graduate studies in folklore at the University of California at Berkeley, and in 1999 was presented with an honorary doctorate from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland.
John Golden is the founder of John A. Golden Associates, a New York City-based financial advisory firm and investor in private and public companies. He is a retired general partner of Goldman Sachs & Co, where he was a leader in its mergers and acquisition advisory business for two decades. He graduated from Colgate in 1966, and then received his law degree from Columbia University in 1969.