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College to name school after trailblazing journalist Gwen Ifill

A college in Boston will name one of its schools after the late Gwen Ifill, veteran journalist and a co-anchor of PBS' "NewsHour."

by Associated Press /

A college in Boston will name one of its schools after the late Gwen Ifill, veteran journalist and a co-host of PBS' "NewsHour" and who moderated two vice presidential debates.

Simmons College announced Tuesday the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanities in honor of Ifill, who graduated from the private college with a communications degree in 1977. Ifill died of cancer a year ago today at age 61.

“The kind of unimpeded curiosity Gwen brought to her work, coupled with her warmth, integrity and commitment to truth-telling, is something all of our students aspire to – no matter what field of study they pursue," Helen Drinan, president of Simmons College said a in a statement. “We are extraordinarily proud of her and so pleased to formalize her legacy at Simmons this way.”

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Sherrilyn Ifill, a cousin of Ifill and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said in a tweet the recognition is a "fitting honor" for Gwen's work.

"Just by showing us how one human being—one American—could become a trusted friend and confidante to millions of disparate Americans, Gwen encourages us not to give up on the project of creating an America that is diverse but united in shared values—in respect for ethics and professionalism and our common humanity," she said in an email to NBC News.

A former reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Ifill switched to television in the 1990s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of "Washington Week" and also worked for the nightly "NewsHour" program. She and Judy Woodruff were named co-hosts in 2013. She was the author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," was published on inauguration day 2009.

A formal launch of the school is planned for 2018.

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