Citation for Jane Pauley
Presented by Associate Professor of Rhetoric Stephanie Kelley-Romano
President Hansen, I am honored to present Jane Pauley.
We like to believe that we really do know the broadcast journalists who tell us stories. Like some of you here, I often talk back to my news reporters. Thus, many of us here today consider Jane Pauley an acquaintance, if not something of a friend.
Ms. Pauley has modestly said that she entered journalism at the right time, when new FCC rules prompted the hiring of female television reporters. Among her peers, she rose the quickest, going on to co-host the Today show for 13 years — half that time with Bates alumnus Bryant Gumbel — then co-hosting Dateline NBC, all the while accumulating significant awards for her work.
As a generation of American women moved into the workplace, Ms. Pauley’s professional work helped us accept this epic social change. Acceptance partly came from watching her report on important gender-based stories, like the first woman astronaut. But the bigger story, in a sense, was how women in the American workplace — even working while pregnant, as in Ms. Pauley’s case — were becoming the new normal. She and other broadcast pioneers effected this social change, she says with a smile, “by just doing what came naturally.”
And when Jane Pauley courageously wrote about her struggle with bipolar disorder, we were further empowered, learning, if we didn’t know already, to see mental illness as a medical and biological condition without moral or social hues.
For her achievements as a journalist who has guided us and taught us I present Jane Pauley for the degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
Jane Pauley, as an award-winning broadcast journalist you have given us insight, knowledge, understanding, and comprehension, generous gifts that have improved us, often individually and most assuredly as a society. Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.