Press Release

An Inspiring Alumnus

March 8, 2017 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Byron Pitts, OWU Class of 1982 and a 'Nightline' co-anchor, is being honored with a 2017 Horatio Alger Award. (Photo courtesy of ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua)

Byron Pitts ’82 to Receive 2017 Horatio Alger Award

“Nightline” co-anchor and “ABC News” chief national correspondent Byron Pitts, a 1982 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate, is one of 11 people in the United States chosen to receive a 2017 Horatio Alger Award.

The award, given annually by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc., “honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity.” The nonprofit educational association was founded in 1947 by the Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a 1920 Ohio Wesleyan alumnus.

Pitts and all 2017 honorees will be formally inducted into the Horatio Alger Association during a three-day event March 30-April 1 in Washington, D.C.

Pitts, an OWU journalism and speech communication major, joined ABC News in 2013 as an anchor and chief national correspondent covering national news stories and in-depth features for the network, reporting for all broadcasts and platforms including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “This Week” and “20/20.” He was a “Nightline” co-anchor in 2014. He also reports for all ABC News digital properties including

Before joining ABC News, Pitts served as a contributor to “60 Minutes” at CBS News. In 2009, he published his memoir, “Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges.” In the book, he writes about his “challenges,” which have included unable to read until age 12 and overcoming a persistent stutter. He also shares how his college roommate and a caring professor helped him to persevere in his quest to earn his OWU diploma.

His candor in sharing his issues has drawn high praise from many of his contemporaries.

“If you have ever been told, ‘You can’t achieve your dreams,’ you need to read Step Out on Nothing,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has said. “Byron Pitts has used his remarkable skills as a reporter to reveal his most fascinating story to date – the story of his own life. ... This book will move you, inspire you, and make you look at your own difficulties in a whole new light.”

In addition to being honored by the Horatio Alger Association, Pitts also has won multiple national and regional Emmys, including a national Emmy for individual reporting of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also has earned four Associated Press Awards and has been recognized as Best Journalist of the Year, the highest honor awarded by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Read more about the Horatio Alger Association and Award at Learn more about Pitts and watch his news reports at Read more about Ohio Wesleyan’s journalism program at