BETHANY, W.Va. – Award-winning broadcast journalist Bob Orr, Justice and Homeland Security correspondent for CBS News and a 1975 graduate of Bethany College, will return to the Bethany campus on Saturday, March 7, 2009 to deliver the Keynote Address for the College’s 25th annual Kalon Scholarship Luncheon.
“Bethany College always takes great pride in welcoming our distinguished alumni back to their alma mater,” said Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College. “Bob’s rise to the pinnacle of his profession serves as an inspiration to us all and makes him an outstanding example of the positive alumni outcomes which drive our mission as a small college of national distinction.”
The Kalon Luncheon is a feature of the Kalon Leadership Scholarship Competition conducted each year during Kalon Weekend at Bethany. The Kalon Leadership Scholarship is a competitive scholarship program for incoming freshmen at Bethany College. High school seniors from across the nation compete for the prestigious annual academic awards. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the program.
Selection is based on demonstrated achievement in leadership, academic record and a required essay on leadership. The College hosts the candidates on Kalon Weekend, during which the students are able to tour the campus, participate in leadership seminars and attend the Kalon Luncheon. Following the luncheon and Keynote Address, three-person teams composed of a Bethany faculty or staff member, a current Bethany student and an alumnus conduct in-depth interviews of each candidate to complete the evaluation process.
A native of Wheeling, W.Va., Orr began his broadcast journalism career as a reporter for WTRF-TV in Wheeling while still a student at Bethany. After graduating cum laude from Bethany in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, he continued to work at WTRF-TV until accepting a position as reporter and anchor with WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio in 1978. He worked at WBNS-TV and at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, earning three regional Emmy Awards for his reporting, until joining CBS News in July 1993.
Orr spent 13 years covering the aviation, space and transportation beat for CBS and was named Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent in 2006. His reports are regularly featured on the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric and he also contributes to CBS Radio and CBSNews.com.
The Bethany alumnus contributed numerous live reports during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and broke several stories by reporting details of the hijacked planes. He received a national Emmy Award for his reporting on the Washington, D.C. sniper attacks in October 2002 and also led CBS News’ coverage of the Columbia space shuttle disaster in February 2003. More recently, he served as lead correspondent for the January 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia and helped anchor the coverage of the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.
The Bethany alumnus has received two other national Emmy Awards. His first Emmy came in 1996 in recognition of his work on the crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of New York. Orr earned his second national Emmy for his coverage of Amtrak’s “City of New Orleans” passenger train crash near Chicago. In addition, Orr was the recipient of a Sigma Delta Chi Award for his reporting on the return of Elian Gonzalez to his native Cuba in June 2000.
Bethany College honored Orr for his contributions to the profession of broadcast journalism by presenting him with the 1996 Alumni Achievement Award in Journalism. Orr resides in Fairfax County, Va. with his wife, Susie, and their three daughters.