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Notre Dame of Maryland University Welcomes Journalist and Author Kathleen Koch as 2013 Commencement Speaker

March 12, 2013

Award-winning journalist and author Kathleen Koch will speak at Notre Dame of Maryland University’s 2013 Commencement on May 25 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The historic occasion marks the first commencement of Dr. James Conneely’s presidency and will feature the graduation of the first class of Pharm.D. professionals from Notre Dame’s School of Pharmacy. The Notre Dame Board of Trustees has also approved Ms. Koch as the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, which will be awarded at the ceremony.

“Throughout her career, Kathleen has used her gifts to speak truth to power, bear witness to suffering and incite good people into action,” said President Conneely. “In upholding the highest ideals of her profession and her deep commitment to serving the community, she is an outstanding role model for our graduates.”

Ms. Koch is the author of Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered.  For more than 18 years she served as CNN general assignment correspondent, covering especially aviation, the White House, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. Her two documentaries on the recovery of her hometown in Mississippi from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina—Saving My Town: The Fight for Bay St. Louis and The Town That Fought Back—garnered her a New York Festivals Gold Medal. She also shared a Peabody Award for CNN’s coverage of Katrina. She won another New York Festivals Gold Medal and a bronze medal from the New York Association of Black Journalists for a CNN report that uncovered the murder of a young inmate by prison guards. She has also won several other national and regional awards for her work.

Before joining CNN, Ms. Koch was a general assignment reporter covering Washington, D.C., for multiple news organi­zations. She was also a consumer and medical reporter for the Group W Newsfeed Network and a weekend reporter at WRC-TV in Washington. Ms. Koch served as an anchor and State De­partment correspondent for America Today, the U.S. Informa­tion Agency’s two-hour daily international news broadcast to Europe. She began her television career as a reporter and week­end anchor for the ABC affiliate WLOX-TV in Biloxi, Missis­sippi. 

Ms. Koch was a Rotary Foundation International Graduate Scholar at the University of Dijon in Dijon, France. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and serves on the university’s School of Mass Communications and Journalism Advisory Board. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.