University of Scranton President's Business Council to Honor John A. Walsh

Aug 17, 2009

        The University of Scranton President's Business Council will present John A. Walsh, executive vice president and executive editor of ESPN, Inc., with the President's Medal. The award is given to recognize individuals who have achieved excellence in their fields and who have demonstrated extraordinary compassion for others.

       A 1966 graduate of the university, Walsh will receive the medal at the Council's Eighth Annual Award Dinner to be held on Thursday, Oct. 8, at The Pierre in New York City. The black-tie fundraiser supports the Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund.

        Presidential Scholarships, which are full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, are awarded to the top students entering the Jesuit university's freshman class each year.

        Special guests on the evening's program include Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC News' Good Morning America, and Bob Ley, host of ESPN's Outside the Lines, both of whom are Walsh's personal friends.

        Known to all of his Scranton associates simply as "John A.," Walsh has been the executive editor of ESPN since December 1990 and currently serves as chairman of ESPN's editorial board.

        In October 2007, Business Week listed Walsh at number 66 among the 100 most powerful people in sports, citing that he "made his mark reshaping the marquee show, SportsCenter."

        At times during his 22-year career at ESPN, he has overseen the launch of ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Radio; was instrumental in developing the many news and information elements within ESPN, including networks and new shows; has led the editorial direction of and its properties; and served as the managing editor, responsible for the editorial content of all news and informational programming, including SportsCenter, ESPN's flagship sports news program. 

         "John A. has had a remarkable career in journalism, especially in the sports field," said University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. "He continues to have a tremendous impact, behind the scenes, on how the world views sports through the various media outlets of ESPN."

         Despite the very real challenges that the current economic conditions present to this year's fundraising efforts, Mary Beth Farrell, chair of the President's Business Council, University of Scranton trustee, and vice chair of AXA Advisors, LLC, of The University of Scranton's class of 1979, said, "I am encouraged by the fortitude and commitment of our President's Business Council members and the university's alumni community. It would have been understandable to take this year off, but the Council felt it was more important to keep our momentum going in support of scholarships at Scranton."

        Prior to joining ESPN in 1988, Walsh was the founding editor of Inside Sports magazine, as well as the managing editor of U.S. News & World Report and Rolling Stone. He has held a number of editorial positions, including sports editor of the Columbia Missourian, sports editor and op-ed page editor at Newsday, and style section editor of The Washington Post in the post-Watergate years. He has also been the editor of three books on sports, including "The Heisman: A Symbol of Excellence," published in 1984.

        A Scranton native, Walsh earned a bachelor's degree in English from The University of Scranton and is a 1991 recipient of the university's Frank J. O'Hara Alumni Award. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was awarded their Medal of Honor in 2001. A current member of the University's Board of Trustees, he is also a member of the Executive Committee of the President's Business Council.

        Walsh and his wife, Ellen, reside in Marion, Conn., and have two children.

        The President's Business Council was formed in January 2001 by the University and a prominent group of alumni and friends whose purpose is to advance the mission of the University.

        For ticket or reservation information, please contact Timothy J. Pryle, director of the President's Business Council, at (570) 941-5837 or

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