It’s been a year since the media industry suffered a major loss with the death of journalist Gwen Ifill. On the one year anniversary of her passing her alma mater—Simmons College in Boston—announced that it would name one of its schools in her honor, NBC News reported.
The institution’s college of media, arts and humanities will be named after Ifill. She earned her communications degree from the school 40 years ago. After graduating, Ifill eventually went on to become a pioneer in the journalism industry. She reported for both the New York Times and the Washington Post, worked for NBC News, moderated two presidential debates and co-hosted PBS NewsHour. Ifill broke barriers for women of color in the realm of media and was a strong advocate for diversity in journalism.
“Diversity is essential to the success of the news industry and journalists must include diverse voices in their coverage in order to reach a broader audience,” Ifill once told the Baltimore Times. “We have stories to tell, but many in our audience have stopped listening because they can tell that we’re not talking about them.”
Naming the school is the institution’s way of paying homage to her legacy and all of the contributions that she made to Simmons College and the journalism industry, the president of Simmons College said. “The kind of unimpeded curiosity Gwen brought to her work, coupled with her warmth, integrity and commitment to truth-telling, is something all of our students aspire to – no matter what field of study they pursue,” Helen Drinan said in a statement, according to the source.
Her legacy should give individuals a sense of hope to create a country that is “diverse but united in shared values—in respect for ethics and professionalism and our common humanity,” her cousin, Sherrilyn Ifill, who heads the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said.
The school is slated to open its doors next year.
Ifill succumbed to her battle with cancer on November 14, 2016. She was 61.