GW Law 2024 Commencement Speaker Announced

May 3, 2024
Nina Totenberg

Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s (NPR) award-winning legal affairs correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, will deliver the keynote address at the Law School Diploma Ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2024, at 3 PM ET.

Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed news magazines All Things ConsideredMorning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Ms. Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. She is often featured in documentaries—most recently RBG—that deal with issues before the court. As Newsweek put it, “The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg.”

In 1991, her ground-breaking report about the University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill’s charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage—anchored by Ms. Totenberg—of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill’s allegations, and for Ms. Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Professor Hill.

That same coverage earned Ms. Totenberg additional awards, including the Long Island University George Polk Award for excellence in journalism; the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for Investigative Reporting; the Carr Van Anda Award from the Scripps School of Journalism; and the prestigious Joan S. Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs/public policy reporting, which also acknowledged her coverage of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s retirement.

Ms. Totenberg was named Broadcaster of the Year and honored with the 1998 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the National Press Foundation. She is the first radio journalist to receive the award. She is also the recipient of the American Judicature Society’s first-ever award honoring a career body of work in the field of journalism and the law. In 1988, Ms. Totenberg won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her coverage of Supreme Court nominations. The jurors of the award stated, “Ms. Totenberg broke the story of Judge (Douglas) Ginsburg’s use of marijuana, raising issues of changing social values and credibility with careful perspective under deadline pressure.”

She has been honored seven times by the American Bar Association for continued excellence in legal reporting and has received more than two dozen honorary degrees. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships.

A frequent contributor on TV shows, Ms. Totenberg has also written for major newspapers and periodicals—among them, The New York Times MagazineThe Harvard Law ReviewThe Christian Science Monitor, and New York Magazine, and others. On a lighter note, Esquire magazine twice named her one of the “Women We Love.”