Known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling, Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist. As Chief National Correspondent for the CBS "Evening News With Katie Couric," Pitts was an embedded reporter covering the Iraq war and was recognized for his work under fire. Pitts was also CBS' lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage. A news veteran with over 20 years of experience, other major stories include the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, to name but a few. Pitts realized a lifelong goal when he was named a Contributing Correspondent to CBS' "60 Minutes" in 2009.
Pitts was a speaker in the Celebration of Ideas lecture series in the fall of 2011. His many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of 12 and had a persistent stutter. Capitalizing on his desire to play football, his mother mandated he receive Bs or above in school in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. With the help of his roommate and a college professor, Pitts found the support and encouragement necessary to pursue a career in broadcast journalism–a field that demands excellence in writing and speaking. By staying focused, setting simple and achievable goals and finding strength in faith, Pitts overcame his powerful odds and his disability. He graduated in 1982 with a B.A. in Journalism and Speech Communication. (Source: FSUNow)