Bryant Gumbel is Inaugural Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award Honoree

Media luminaries, network chiefs join Marist alumni and friends to benefit the College's Center for Sports Communication at NYC gala

New York City (Oct. 18, 2015) – Katie Couric, Jane Pauley, and Kelly Ripa were just some of the high-wattage media personalities who turned out to help celebrate their friend Bryant Gumbel as President Dennis Murray presented the legendary newsman and sports broadcaster with the inaugural Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award on behalf of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication at a special ceremony at the New York Athletic Club last Thursday, Oct. 15.

Couric, Zucker, RipaYahoo News Global Anchor and former TODAY co-host Katie Couric, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, and LIVE with Kelly and Michael co-host Kelly Ripa celebrate Bryant Gumbel at the inaugural Marist College Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award ceremony in New York City
"I can't think of a more deserving recipient of this inaugural award than Bryant," said President Murray. "Throughout his career, he has brought a hard news sensibility to sports journalism. Beyond the scores and standings, Bryant recognizes that the truly important stories and, indeed, the most compelling ones, have more to do with sport as a powerful force for both good and ill in our society. His career exemplifies the kind of in-depth work and high ethical standards that mark the work of the Marist Center for Sports Communication and to which our students aspire."

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 Keith Strudler, director of the Center for Sports Communication, welcomed the crowd of some 350 media personalities, network chiefs and other executives, Marist trustees, alumni, parents, who helped honor Gumbel while raising important funds to endow the center and provide support for its diverse activities and student scholarships. MSNBC President Phil Griffin served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies.

Jane Pauley of CBS News, former TODAY co-host; Real Sports Correspondent Jon Frankel, in period attire; and former TODAY Executive Producer Steve Friedman speak (and in Frankel's case, rap) at the event

The award was established to recognize individuals who have exemplified excellence over time in the broadly defined field of sports communication, acknowledging the social value and importance of sport and those that cover, analyze, narrate, and otherwise bring us our national pastimes.  

"Tonight was special for so many reasons, but most notably because it allowed so many people to thank Bryant for his legacy of excellence in broadcast journalism and sports media," said Strudler, "The Marist College Center for Sports Communication is proud to be a part of this great night, and it inspires us to train students to follow in Bryant's footsteps."


President Dennis and Mrs. Marilyn Murray with Kelly Ripa on the red carpet

Gumbel has long been recognized for his groundbreaking and industry-defining work. For the past 20 years, he has hosted HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," a show that has earned 28 Emmy’s, a 2006 DuPont-Columbia University award for broadcast journalism, and a 2012 Peabody Award. Through Gumbel’s stewardship, the program has expertly examined the vast intersection of sport and the world around it, highlighting the joys, complexities, accomplishments, and injustices in and around the sports landscape. Gumbel has interviewed the most influential names in the sports world, from Muhamad Ali to Jack Nicklaus, and his work has both spurred change and encouraged humanity in the global industry of sport.

At the Oct. 15 event, Gumbel's former" TODAY" show colleagues, including Couric, Pauley, CNN President Jeff Zucker, and former "TODAY" Executive Producer Steve Friedman, joined current ones like "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" co-host Kelly Ripa and "Real Sports" Correspondent Jon Frankel to offer testimonials, with Frankel donning a Colonial-era coat and tri-corner hat for a rap tribute to Bryant inspired by the hit Broadway musical, "Hamilton."


Center for Sports Communication Director Keith Strudler with Marist alumnus and CBS News
Specials Producer Alvin Patrick on the red carpet

The event's success was thanks in large part to those foundations, businesses, and organizations which supported the Center for Sports Communication directly or through event sponsorship, including The Dyson Foundation, which provided a generous grant to the center's endowment; Platinum Sponsors HBO Sports, NBC News, CNN, Agua Enerviva, William Gottlieb Real Estate, Pike Construction, Coyne PR, and Daniel O'Connell's Sons; and Corporate Sponsors Michael and Genine McCormick, Bond, Schoeneck & King, The James J. McCann Charitable Trust, Ruttura & Sons Construction, Grant Thornton, J.W. Hulme Co., Anaconda Sports/LIDS Team Sports, JTR Transportation, Hickey-Finn & Co., Inc., Apple Montessori, Supreme Security Systems, and Milrose Consultants, Inc.