Skip to main content

ABC News' Byron Pitts named 2018 commencement speaker

Byron Pitts, a multi-Emmy award-winning journalist for ABC News and author, will be the speaker at Winston-Salem State University’s 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 18.

As a journalist, Pitts has covered some of the biggest news stories of the past 18 years, including the attacks on 9/11, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the Boston marathon bombing investigation, and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. Since 2014, he has been the co-host of ABC News’ “Nightline.” Prior to joining ABC News, Pitts spent 15 years at CBS News, where he served as chief national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News” and filed regularly for “60 Minutes.”

“We are honored to have Byron Pitts as our commencement speaker,” said Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson. “Mr. Pitts has an incredible story to tell of how – through faith, family and friends – he was able to overcome a childhood filled with obstacles to become one of America’s leading journalists. I know his message will be thought-provoking and uplifting for our graduates as they prepare to leave WSSU and begin the next chapters of their lives.”

Until age 12, Pitts had a debilitating stutter and a secret: He couldn’t read. His memoir, “Step Out on Nothing,” describes his journey.

Pitts also is the author of “Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope.”

Pitts, a native of Baltimore, is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, where he studied journalism and speech communication. He began his career at WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina.

The ceremony will recognize more than 1,200 graduates who received their degrees during summer and fall 2017 and spring 2018. This includes:

  • Nearly 1,070 undergraduates
  • 139 graduates (master’s and doctoral)

The ceremony, which begins at 8:45 a.m., will be held, weather permitting, at Bowman Gray Stadium. The rain location is Winston-Salem’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. For those who cannot attend, the ceremony will be live-streamed on WSSU’s website.

For more information, please visit the graduation website.

About Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Byron Pitts

More News

WSSU offers free textbooks to all undergraduate students

Winston-Salem State University has partnered with Barnes & Noble College to implement BNC First Day® Complete, a course material delivery model that will drive student success by ensuring all students are prepared to begin learning on the first day of class.

First Day® Complete, an innovative course material delivery model, addresses equitable access, convenience, and affordability across all courses at an institution by bundling the cost of course materials into tuition and ensuring students have all their materials for the semester available on or before the first day of class. WSSU will cover all associated expenses so that no additional costs will be passed on to students.

Read Moreabout WSSU offers free textbooks to all undergraduate students

WSSU Class of 2021: Where are they headed?

While the global pandemic shaped the Class of 2021’s final year on campus, these graduates are #RamStrong activists, advocates, artists, and athletes who are prepared to take on whatever challenges they may face in the future.

Read Moreabout WSSU Class of 2021: Where are they headed?

WSSU rehabilitation counseling, on the road for recovery with new community support mobile unit

WSSU Department of Rehabilitation Counseling will be hitting the road with a new Behavioral and Health Community Support Unit (BeHCU).

Read Moreabout WSSU rehabilitation counseling, on the road for recovery with new community support mobile unit