Journalist Pitts to give Clark commencement

Renowned storyteller rose about poverty, illiteracy to be on TV

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

 

Clark College has announced that Emmy Award-winning television journalist and author Byron Pitts will present the keynote address at the college's 7 p.m. June 20 commencement exercises at the Sleep Country USA Amphitheater, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.

Raised in poverty, Pitts suffered from a debilitating stutter and functional illiteracy and didn't learn to read and write until he was a teen. He entered a field, broadcast journalism, that requires strong written and oral communication skills. Today Pitts is chief national correspondent for "CBS Evening News" and a contributor to "60 Minutes."

Pitts is known for exceptional storytelling. As an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War, he was recognized for his work under fire. Pitts was also CBS' lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. A news veteran, he has covered the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo. He is also the author of a memoir, "Step Out On Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges."

"Byron Pitts has a powerful story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to get to where he is today," said Clark College President Robert Knight. "It was through education that his life was turned around. I believe he will make a strong connection with our students."

Susan Parrish:360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com