Surrounded by hundreds of new graduates, ABC News president and FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication alumna Kimberly Godwin encouraged the class of 2023 to “think of all you can be” during her commencement address at FAMU’s graduation ceremony on Friday, Dec. 15.
Godwin is the first African-American and first woman to lead ABC News in the company’s 80 year history. She’s also the first African-American to run a national broadcast news network.
“When you see it, you can be it,” said Godwin, “So when you look at me, graduates, think of all you can be.”
The accomplished journalist previously served as executive vice president of news at CBS and worked at several top local news outlets across the country.
In her speech, Godwin acknowledged how monumental events like the COVID pandemic and the death of George Floyd impacted the class of 2023 and how they can shape current events.
“My job as a journalist for the last four decades has been to report what’s happening in the world,” she said. “Graduates, your job is now to do something about it. It’s your job to change the world.”
From embarking on a 30-hour Greyhound bus ride from New York to enroll at FAMU to leading one of America’s top news networks, Godwin shared how her “squad” supported her through the challenges and successes of her journey.
“Seek out those who will encourage you, who will teach you and who will course correct you. Seek out those who will see and hear you,” said Godwin, emphasizing the importance of a supportive community to the audience. “Don’t try to prove the naysayers wrong. Prove those who love you right.”
“They are your real army,” she said.
Godwin was also presented the President’s Award for serving as keynote speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the graduation ceremony.
In her 40 year career, Godwin has earned six National News and Documentary Emmy Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, and a Sigma Delta Chi Award. She is an esteemed member of the National Association of Black Journalists.