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David Kerley 2015 Honored Alumnus
David Kerley III accepts his Honored Alumnus award.

David Kerley named 2015 Honored Alumnus

David Kerley III (Journalism, ’79) was named the 2015 College of Liberal Arts’ Honored Alumnus. Kerley is a correspondent for ABC News based in Washington, D.C., and contributes regularly to all ABC News broadcasts, including “World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and “Nightline.” Kerley began his career on the Central Coast after graduating from Cal Poly and has since traveled to every continent except Antarctica on behalf of ABC News. He’s covered presidential campaigns, natural disasters and many major breaking news stories. His in-depth reporting has included stories on the technology boom, genetically engineered crops, African-American Islam, American neo-Nazis, and the U.S. military. Kerley has been honored with national and regional Emmy Awards, a Peabody, and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards.

CLA administration
Dean Doug Epperson, Alumni Association President Kirstie
Macpherson, Kerley, and Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong.

The Honored Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon Cal Poly alumni by the university’s Alumni Association. The annual award recognizes one alumnus from each of the university’s six academic colleges.

“I saw these ceremonies when I was here 36 years ago and never thought that I would be honored by my university,” said Kerley, who returned to accept his honor and address the campus last November.

He credits Cal Poly with changing his career path and his life. Kerley has remained an active alumnus, sitting on the Advisory Board of the Journalism Department and contributing to the department’s endowment.
 

“The Journalism Department meant so much to me that when it fell on hard times and somebody asked, ‘Can you help?’ I joined a lot of my former colleagues who came out of a really halcyon time of the department in the late ’70s and early ’80s.”
— David Kerley III
 

“The Journalism Department meant so much to me that when it fell on hard times and somebody asked, ‘Can you help?’ I joined a lot of my former colleagues who came out of a really halcyon time of the department in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” Kerley said.

Classmate and former colleague Kevin Riggs (Journalism, ’78) said he was thrilled when he heard Kerley was the honored alumnus.

“Dave is the real deal,” said Riggs, who was assistant news director at Cal Poly’s KCPR-FM when Kerley was news director there in the 1970s. “He is somebody who really does believe in the mission of journalism. And to be performing to a national and global audience the way he does really speaks to his abilities — and also to the education he got here at Cal Poly.”
 

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