Jane Pauley


Honorary Degree (1996)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Myles Neil Brand
Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1990)
B.A., 1972


One of the best-known and most respected women in television news, Jane Pauley has charmed, challenged, and informed tens of millions of Americans for nearly a quarter of a century. A co-anchor of NBC's DATELINE since 1992, Pauley is regarded as an influential journalist and a poised TV personality.

Born in Indianapolis in 1950, Jane Pauley attended Indiana University Bloomington, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in political science. She returned to Indianapolis and worked for John Lindsay's presidential campaign and later held a staff position with the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee. Although she took only one journalism class at IU, her interest in current affairs led Pauley to become a general assignment reporter for WISH-TV in Indianapolis. During her three years at WISH-TV, she worked her way up to anchoring the noon and evening news telecast.

In 1975 Pauley was hired by Chicago's WMAQ-TV, an NBC station, and became the first woman to co-anchor a nightly news program on Chicago television. Only a year later, at the age of 25, she was selected by NBC to succeed Barbara Walters as co-anchor for the TODAY show. During her 14 years on the show, she interviewed more than 3,000 guests and co-hosted TODAY from locations around the world, including cities in China, Australia, England, Italy, Argentina, and Brazil. Pauley also co-anchored NBC's EARLY TODAY from 1982 to 1983 and was a principal writer and reporter for NBC NIGHTLY NEWS from 1980 to 1982.

Today, as co-anchor of the prime-time DATELINE, Pauley continues to bring viewers well-researched and substantive news stories. Her probing but courteous treatment of those she interviews, her empathy with her audience, and her superb sense of timing continue to make her one of America's favorite television celebrities. The unwavering professionalism and dignity Pauley has demonstrated in a fiercely competitive business known for squabbles and upheavals have made her a favorite of audiences, colleagues, and critics alike.

Throughout her career Pauley has maintained ties with Indiana University. Professor Emeritus of Journalism Richard D. Yoakam says, "I believe that she has never turned down a request I made of her, even though a number of times the request must have come at a very inconvenient time. In every case she has moved in to help because of her love and support for her alma mater." Pauley participated in the public announcement of The Campaign for Indiana and spoke at the 1990 Commencement ceremony. She routinely addresses journalism classes, and she has personally assisted many IU School of Journalism graduates when they have searched for jobs in New York City.

Jane Pauley has received awards including the Broadcaster of the Year Award from the International Radio and Television Society, the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Medal, the Torch of Truth Award from the Advertising Club of Indianapolis, and the Alumni Achievement Award of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

This will be Pauley's fourth honorary degree. In 1978 she received a Doctor of Journalism degree from DePauw University; she was the youngest person to have received an honorary degree from that institution. In 1991 the University of Notre Dame gave her a Doctor of Laws degree, and in 1995 Providence College honored her as a Doctor of Humane Letters.