National Geographic Honors Kurtis, '66

Photograph: Bill KurtisBill Kurtis, '66, received The National Geographic Society of Chicago and The National Geographic Society's inaugural Geographic Visionary Award for his 'exemplary dedication to education on the subject of geography and its important role in emerging trends and technologies.'

During law school, Kurtis worked part-time as a reporter for WIBW-TV. After graduating from Washburn Law in 1966 and passing the Kansas bar exam, he decided to pursue a career in broadcast journalism instead of law. Kurtis spent time in Chicago as a reporter and anchorman for WBBM-TV, and then traveled the world with CBS News for 30 years.

In 1988, he formed his own documentary production company, Kurtis Productions. His documentaries have influenced social change throughout the world. In his current position, Kurtis serves as the scorekeeper/announcer for NPR’s news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!    

Upon accepting the award, Kurtis emphasized the importance of teens in the United States knowing where other countries are in this time of social media and the Internet. "Because our digital and video tools can make geography come alive," said Kurtis. "Call it 3D, 4K, it’s the educational connection that we have been looking for."

Watch the video courtesy of 13 News: