Gwen Ifill, born on September 29, 1955, was a renowned American journalist. She was raised in New England but moved to Massachusetts in her preteen years. After graduating from high school, Ifill enrolled at Simmons College, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. In 1981, she landed her first job at the “Baltimore Evening Sun” and worked there for three years before moving to “The Washington Post.” Several years later, she was hired by “The New York Times,” where she was given the opportunity to appear on television for the first time. We’ll help you celebrate her special day right here.
Gwendolyn L. Ifill
September 29, 1955
November 14, 2016 (age 61)
Gwendolyn L. Ifill was a journalist from Queens, New York. She was born on September 29, 1955, as the fifth of six children. Ifill was raised in New England, where her father worked as a pastor. As she approached her teenage years, the family settled in Massachusetts, and she attended Springfield Central High School until her graduation in 1973. She then enrolled at Simmons College, now Simmons University, to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
Ifill landed a job at the “Baltimore Evening Sun,” where she worked for three years, from 1981 to 1984. She was later hired by “The Washington Post” but left after she was denied the opportunity to cover Capitol Hill. Several months later, Ifill landed a job at “The New York Times” and covered the White House from 1991 to 1994. She appeared on television for the first time in 1994, working as the network’s Capitol Hill reporter before becoming the first Black woman to host a national political talk show in 1999. She was made a senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour and appeared on several news shows, including “Charlie Rose,” “Inside Washington,” and “Face the Nation.”
In 2004, Ifill moderated the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards, North Carolina Senator, making her the first African-American woman to do so. On October 2, 2008, she was also the moderator for the debate between the Governor of Alaska and Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Sadly, Ifill passed away from breast and endometrial cancer on November 14, 2016. She was subsequently honored by her colleagues and other prominent personalities, including then-president Barack Obama.
Gwen Ifill is awarded the Women in Film and Video Women of Vision Award for her contributions to the journalism field.
Ifill moderates the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards.
She is inducted into the Washington, D.C. Journalism Hall of Fame.
Ifill receives the AI Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Why We Love Gwen Ifill
She was well-spoken
Ifill was excellent at her job. She won several awards for the work she did as a journalist.
She was intelligent
She was an intelligent woman who held her own during interviews with influential people. She asked tough questions in the best interest of her viewers.
She believed in herself
Ifill knew she was the right person for the job. She left “The Washington Post” because they denied her an opportunity to report about Capitol Hill. She reminds us that we shouldn’t be afraid to fight for what we deserve.
5 Surprising Facts
Her father was a minister
Ifill’s father, Oliver Urcille Ifill Sr., was an African Methodist Episcopal minister of Barbadian descent.
She left “The Washington Post”
Ifill left the role because she wanted to cover Capitol Hill but her bosses told her she wasn’t ready to do so.
She hosted “Jamestown Live!”
In 2006, she was selected to cohost the educational webcast commemorating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia.
She experienced racism
While interning for the “Boston Herald,” someone left a racist note on her desk.
There’s a school named after her
Simmons College, her alma mater, named a school Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities.
Gwen Ifill FAQs
Why was Gwen Ifill important?
Ifill was a skilled journalist who made important contributions to the field. She also never let instances of racism hinder her from progressing in her career.
Why is Gwen Ifil on a stamp?
The U.S. Postal Service released a Black Heritage Forever stamp in her memory because she broke gender and racial barriers in her field.
Are Gwen and Sherrilyn Ifill related?
Their fathers are brothers, making them first cousins.
Gwen Ifill’s birthday dates