Globetrotting news reporter Deborah Roberts of 20/20 will deliver the annual Holmes-Hunter Lecture at 2 p.m. March 7 in the Chapel. The lecture honors Charlayne Hunter-Gault and the late Hamilton Holmes, the first African-American students to enroll at the University of Georgia.
Since graduating from UGA in 1982, Roberts has risen through the ranks of television news, working as a substitute anchor for NBC news and a contributing reporter for Dateline NBC before joining 20/20 in 1995.
Roberts’s reports have taken her from Saudi Arabia for stories on the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War to Barcelona, Spain, where her coverage of the 1992 Olympics won an Emmy.
Roberts has chronicled the quests of African Americans who crossed overseas to the sites where their ancestors were captured as slaves. She’s also delved into emotional issues with pieces on manic depression in children and alcohol abuse with baseball player Darryl Strawberry.
Most recently, she won a Clarion Award for her investigation of alleged abuse within the Amish community.
She lives in New York with her husband, NBC weatherman Al Roker, and their children.
Holmes and Hunter-Gault enrolled at UGA in January of 1961 and graduated two years later. Holmes received a degree in science and enrolled as the first African-American student at Emory University School of Medicine.
At the time of his death in 1995, he was an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta and dean of the Emory medical school. He also served as chairman of the orthopedic unit at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Hunter-Gault received a journalism degree and wrote for the New York Times and The New Yorker for years. She later became a reporter for PBS’s McNeil/Lehrer News Hour and was chief Africa correspondent for National Public Radio.
She is the author of In My Place, a memoir about her experiences at UGA. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she freelances as a journalist.