Bob Woodruff Will Address Class Of 2012

Award winning television journalist Robert Woodruff will address the Boston College Class of 2012 at the 136th Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 21. Woodruff made national headlines after sustaining a traumatic brain injury while reporting on the United States War in Iraq.

Woodruff will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University at the ceremony, which will take place in Alumni Stadium at 10 a.m. More than 4,400 total students will receive degrees at the ceremony.

Woodruff, an alumnus of Colgate University, joined ABC News in 1996. He covered major stories for the network, including the attacks on Sept. 11, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2004 tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina. After 9 years at the network, he was named co-anchor of ABC’s award winning news show World News Tonight in December 2005.

The following month, in January 2006, Woodruff was injured by an improvised explosive device while reporting on U.S. security forces in Iraq. At the time of the attack, he was traveling to Baghdad with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division in an armored vehicle. After his evacuation, Woodruff was treated extensively in Germany and then moved to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was kept in a medically induced coma for 36 days.

Upon his recovery, Woodruff returned to ABC News to chronicle his experience and recovery, and founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The foundation advocates on behalf of injured service members, and is a “national nonprofit that helps ensure our nation’s injured service members, veterans, and their families return to a home front ready to support them,” according to the foundation’s website. The foundation educates Americans about the needs of injured service members as they attempt to reintegrate after returning from service. Since returning to the air, Woodruff has reported from around the world, including Syria, Jordan, and North Korea.

Woodruff and his wife, Lee, have four children. Their daughter, Cathryn Woodruff, is a member of the BC Class of 2015.

In addition to the honorary degree awarded to Woodruff, the University will recognize four other guests with honorary degrees.

Joseph A. Appleyard, S.J., BC ’53, former vice president for University Mission and Ministry and now executive assistant for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Former BC football assistant coach and current chairman of Intuit, Inc., Bill Campbell, will receive a Doctor of Business Administration.

Navyn Salem, BC ’94, who founded a nonprofit that manufactures food for preventing malnutrition, will receive a Doctor of Social Science.

Finally, Liz Walker, an award-winning TV news anchor and ordained minister who focuses on international education, will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters.


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David Cote was Editor-in-Chief of The Heights in 2013, graduating with a degree in chemistry and theology. Follow him on Twitter @djcote15.