Andrea Taylor (COM’68)
The president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Taylor spoke at the College of Communication’s undergraduate Convocation in 2016. “Today…we gaze into a crystal ball and envision your journey over the next half century to the year 2066,” she postulated. “It may sound like a long time from now, but take it from me—and I have the gray hair to prove it—it will be here before you know it. No one knows at the beginning of life’s journey what lies ahead, but everyone leaves a legacy, whether planned or not.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism at COM and starting her career as a reporter for the Boston Globe, Taylor was a producer and on-air host for local PBS affiliate WGBH-TV. She later became the founding director of the Media Fund at the Ford Foundation, managing $50 million in support of global media projects, including Sesame Street in China and South Africa, award-winning television series such as Eyes on the Prize and The Pacific Century, and National Public Radio. In 2006, she was appointed director of North America community affairs for Microsoft Corporation. She also served as a delegate to four United Nations global summits. She received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from COM, and was appointed a BU trustee in 2009.
Taylor’s parents, sister, two uncles, her former husband, a nephew, and several cousins are BU grads, and since 1935, nine family members have earned ten graduate and undergraduate degrees at BU, in law, art, music, violin, history, and communication. By sharing her family history, Taylor said, she hoped to inspire the newly minted COM graduates, who are “beneficiaries of a world-class education that allows you to compete and return back to your communities,” noting that that is what her family did.