Kelly O’Donnell (BS87) Receives Alumnae of Northwestern Award

Kelly O’Donnell (BS87) Receives Alumnae of Northwestern Award

Kelly O'Donnell

Journalist, NBC News correspondent, news anchor and Capitol Hill correspondent are just some of the descriptions of Kelly O’Donnell, recipient of the Alumnae of Northwestern University’s 2014 Alumnae Award. 

Established in 1976, the Alumnae Award recognizes a woman who has brought honor to Northwestern University through outstanding professional contributions in her field and who has attained national recognition. 

O’Donnell received her bachelor’s degree in education at the School of Education and Social Policy in 1987, where she focused on a combined study of journalism and public policy. She first joined NBC News as a correspondent in 1994,

She has reported on a wide variety of national and world events, and her reporting has taken her to all 50 states and to 48 countries. The range of her reporting includes five presidential campaigns, the September 11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing and the O. J. Simpson trial.  She traveled with Pope John Paul II and covered Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. During the Iraq war, O’Donnell was embedded with the Third Infantry Division, reporting from Baghdad and Qatar and aboard three aircraft carriers.  She has also covered the Olympic Games.

While covering politics, O’Donnell traveled extensively with President Bush and the campaigns of John McCain, John Kerry and Bob Dole, and covered both inaugurations of Barack Obama. Her notable interviews included President Bill Clinton, President George H. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and First Ladies Laura Bush and Rosalyn Carter. From Capitol Hill, O’Donnell has provided extensive coverage on major issues including the federal government shutdown, fiscal crises, and the healthcare debate.

Before her assignment in Washington, O’Donnell was based in New York and Los Angeles with extended postings in London and Denver. She has also served as news anchor for the weekend edition of Today and other NBC news broadcasts.

An award-winning reporter, O’Donnell earned an Emmy and National Headliner Award for her work on the 2008 presidential elections. She received the 2009 New Hampshire Primary Award for Political Reporting. She has twice been part of the NBC Nightly News team honored with an Edward R Morrow Award. Also, her feature reporting has been honored twice by the Los Angeles Press Club.

O’Donnell has been inducted into both the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame and the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2010 O’Donnell received the Northwestern University Alumni Merit Award for the School of Education and Social Policy.

O’Donnell received her Alumnae Award at a ceremony on November 13. Alumnae Board president Janet Bilandic said, “The Alumnae takes great pride in presenting this year’s award to a woman whose life of achievement has brought honor to Northwestern University.”

The Alumnae of Northwestern University is an all-volunteer organization of women that raises funds for a wide range of projects to benefit the University and shares the University’s academic resources with the community through its Continuing Education program.

By Alumnae of Northwestern University and SESP
Last Modified: 11/14/14