Al Roker ’76, weather and feature anchor on NBC News’ "TODAY" and a member of the Oswego College Foundation Board of Directors, was recognized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 27.

President Deborah F. Stanley, who provided the introduction of Roker, shared how proud the SUNY Oswego community is of his accomplishments and congratulated him on behalf of his alma mater.

“Al has been a loyal ambassador for Oswego throughout his career, generous in sharing his time; love for the college; and, most importantly, offering his genuine and resolute support of our students in so many ways,” President Stanley said. “Al recently returned to the college classroom as a professor to impart his talent and experiences with the next generation of broadcasters. His unique background in broadcasting as a weather anchor, journalist and renowned television personality provides SUNY Oswego students with the ability to explore today’s complex broadcasting and communication environment.”

For more than four decades, AASCU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award has recognized individuals who have achieved acclaim in their fields and who have made significant contributions to the public, intellectual or cultural life of the nation. Through this award, AASCU directs national attention to the value of society’s investment in America’s state colleges and universities. Past honorees include President Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.

“In addition to shaping modern weathercasting and his numerous accomplishments as a journalist, Al Roker has been a trailblazer in diversifying the field of journalism,” said AASCU President Mildred García. “Furthermore, he has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to higher education and preparing future communicators to succeed in an ever-evolving media landscape. We are thrilled to present him with our Distinguished Alumnus Award.”

In his acceptance remarks, Roker credited public educational institutions with providing opportunity for advancement to all people.

“That’s what state colleges do,” Roker said. “They’re affordable, they’re the highest quality education, and they allow low- and middle-income kids to find a dream.”

Throughout the years, Roker has reported live for "TODAY" from some of history’s worst storms and natural disasters, including Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Isaac, Superstorm Sandy and the earthquake in Haiti. Among the many highlights of his career as an interviewer, Roker conducted an exclusive interview with "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz shortly before the cartoonist's death from colon cancer. Additional interview highlights include Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds and James Earl Jones.

Since 1985, Roker has co-hosted the annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. He also co-hosts the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Bowl Parade. From 2001 to 2010 and in 2017, his “Lend a Hand Today” initiative took him across the country and raised millions to help small charities work toward improving conditions in their communities.

He has been named Best Weatherman twice by New York Magazine. He is a recipient of three Daytime Emmy Awards as part of "TODAY"’s recognition as the best morning newscast (2007, 2009, 2010) and of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval. He is also a bestselling author with 12 acclaimed books to his credit.

A generous supporter of his alma mater, Roker provided SUNY Oswego a gift to name the Al Roker Television Studio, which is operated by the student-run television station WTOP, and helped to name the annual Media Summit in honor of a mentor, Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell. His live national broadcasts from campus and his frequent on-air “plugs” for Oswego provide exposure for the college, most notably during Rokerthon3 in March 2017. In fall 2019, he co-taught “Camera Ready: Developing Your On-Air Persona” with Professor Michael Riecke and adjunct professor and Central New York meteorologist Vanessa Richards ’08.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies from SUNY Oswego and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York.