Journalist, author and Trinity graduate Jonetta Rose Barras ’96 will be the 2008 Commencement speaker, announced President Patricia McGuire. Barras, who will receive an honorary doctor of letters, earned her undergraduate degree from Trinity through the Weekend College program, which is now part of the School of Professional Studies. Trinity’s 105th Commencement will be held on the main lawn on Sunday, May 18. Nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded.
Barras is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than twenty years experience reporting and commenting on national and international social, political and cultural trends. In 2001, Barras was rated one of the Top 50 Most Influential Journalists in Washington D.C. by The Washingtonian magazine alongside Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, Maureen Dowd and Jim Lehrer among others.
Barras is a columnist with The Washington DC Examiner. She has been a contributing political editor for The Washington City Paper and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Times. Her writings also have appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The New Republic, The American Enterprise, and The New Democrat among others. She has appeared as an analyst on CBS’ 60 Minutes, C-SPAN, CNN, WHUT-TV (Howard University Television) WRC-TV (an NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C.), PBS (This is America with Dennis Wholey) and FOX (The O’Reilly Factor).
Barras is also the author of Bridges: Reuniting Daughters and Daddies (2005), Whatever Happened To Daddy’s Little Girl: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women (2000), and The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders (1998). Often considered one of the freshest voices speaking for black America, Barras is a highly sought-after speaker and commentator. She resides in the District of Columbia, although she continues to call New Orleans home.