Peter Jennings

Doctor of Humane Letters

Peter Jennings, the urbane, masterly anchor and senior editor of ABC's "World News Tonight," was the media voice millions of Americans turned to after the September 11 attacks. Rising to an enormous challenge, Jennings logged more than 60 hours of coverage during the week following those terrible events. He has been the ABC anchor since 1983, garnering many of journalism's highest awards.

Born in Toronto, the son of a leading Canadian journalist, Jennings started his career at age nine with a weekly children's show for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Breaking early age limits again in 1965, he became the youngest network anchor at 27 when he hosted the ABC "Evening News" from 1965 to 1967.

Returning to reporting, he covered America from coast to coast and much of the rest of the globe as well, bringing news of the civil rights movement, of South Africa's struggle to eliminate apartheid, of the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He established the first American television news bureau in the Arab world, serving as ABC bureau chief in Beirut in the early '70s. He followed that with a posting as the network's chief foreign correspondent in London, co-anchoring nightly newscasts from there.

His series of special in-depth programs, "Peter Jennings Reporting," has provided coverage of complex topics in international news, incuding the conflict in Bosnia and the drug trade in Central and South America. More than 16 million viewers watched Jennings's historical documentary, "The Search for Jesus," in June 2000. His book and TV series The Century, co-authored with Todd Brewster, is an example of history "from the bottom up," an eyewitness, people's memoir of the century just past. Another major book, In Search of America, will be published in September.

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