NORMAN — Earlier Monday, Woodruff received the fourth Gaylord Prize at a luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. Other recipients have been Jim Lehrer, Thomas Friedman and Brian Lamb.
The Gaylord Prize annually recognizes a national journalist and mass communication professional for a lengthy and distinguished career marked by talent and a high standard of excellence.
Woodruff said she was “incredibly honored” to receive the prize which was an example of the Gaylord family’s generosity. OU President David L. Boren presented her with the glass eagle sculpture, joking about the accident two years ago when the eagle dropped, clipping its left wing.
“Since I’m in public television, I’m glad to have an eagle with both wings,” Woodruff joked.
She made reference to her Oklahoma upbringing and father in the Army. She left the state at age 5 and had attended seven schools by the seventh grade. Woodruff said she remembered Oklahoma visits.
“I remember very hot summers and chasing boys in the fourth grade,” she said.
As a political science major at Duke University, a professor steered Woodruff into journalism.
“I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what,” she said.
Her first job was as a secretary at an Atlanta television station. She then covered the Georgia legislature for another station.
Later as a White House correspondent, she got to know Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton.
“It’s the people you meet, it’s the extraordinary leadership you’re exposed to,” she said. “I’ve been lucky to have had all the experiences I’ve had.”
— Transcript Editor Andy Rieger contributed to this article.