Raddatz has covered many of the compelling events of the 21st century, including the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a frequent host of the Sunday morning talk show, “This Week.” Raddatz was the moderator for the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Oct. 11, 2012, at Centre College.
“Martha Raddatz is an accomplished journalist and an eyewitness to history, and her thoughts and perspective will be well received by our graduating seniors, their families and the Kenyon community,” Decatur said. “She has a unique vantage point. We are excited to welcome her.”
Raddatz said she was thrilled to receive the invitation from Kenyon, where she has been a frequent visitor, notably to encourage the Lords football team that includes her son, Jacob Genachowski ’15.
“There’s something about getting that letter from Sean Decatur,” she said. “Honestly, I was ecstatic.”
While she has given the address some thought, she has not decided on the direction she will take. Raddatz did make it a point to read the celebrated 2005 Commencement address delivered by the late author David Foster Wallace. “That’s a pretty high bar,” she said. “I believe that will stand forever. But I’m not giving a commencement speech for history. I’m giving a speech for the students and their families. That’s my approach.”
She added, “You’re celebrating that class and celebrating what comes next.”
Raddatz was the Pentagon correspondent for National Public Radio from 1993 to 1998. She joined ABC News in 1999, assigned to the State Department. That assignment led to travel in the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and India covering Secretary of State Colin Powell. She was named national security correspondent in 2003 and worked as White House correspondent during the second term of President George W. Bush. She became chief global affairs correspondent in 2008.
Raddatz has logged many visits to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Her stories have included an account of a combat mission over Afghanistan in an F15 fighter jet; the killing of Osama bin Laden; and exclusive interviews with U.S. Marines who rescued American pilots in Libya in 2011. She is the author of the bestseller The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family (2007), an account of a 2004 battle in Sadr City, Iraq.
Raddatz has won a number of awards, including four Emmy Awards, the 2005 Daniel Pearl Award from the Chicago Journalists Association and the 2007 Merriman Smith Memorial Award for presidential news coverage under deadline from the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Students enjoyed a Raddatz speech on campus during Family Weekend in 2012 when she discussed “From War Zones to the White House,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry James Keller, who is chair of the faculty. “I welcome the choice of someone as closely connected to Kenyon as she has been the past three years,” Keller said. “I expect that her knowledge of the campus community and the College mission will translate into a compelling address for our graduating class. Kudos to President Decatur for making the invitation and securing a commitment.”
Raddatz also appeared at the Decatur inauguration in October 2013, when she spoke as a representative of Kenyon parents. “I had the opportunity to speak for Kenyon parents, and this time I get to speak for students and their families,” she said. “I love coming to campus. I feel at home at Kenyon.”