- NENPA University
Member Spotlight - Yankee Quill Recipient Jack Williams
52nd Annual Yankee Quill Awards
Jack Williams, WBZ-TV, Boston
Jack Williams has anchored the major newscasts at WBZ-TV - Channel 4 Boston (6 & 11PM) since the mid 1970s. Yet Jack's undisputed reign as New England's longest serving and most well-respected news anchor only tells part of Jack's impact on people in New England. Jack's professional career in television began in 1968 but his interest in broadcasting started when - at the age of thirteen - he built a radio station in his boyhood Idaho home. Two years later, Jack was hired by a local radio station as an announcer and in 1964 began working full time as a radio reporter.
Before heading to WBZ in May of 1975, Jack made two major stops in his career, first at KIRO-TV in Seattle and then KORK-TV in Las Vegas, where he was the major anchor and news director.
It was in Boston in 1981 that Jack Williams used the power of local television and launched Wednesday's Child - a weekly segment in the 6PM News that features a special needs child in search of a family and a permanent home. Over the past thirty-one years Jack Williams' Wednesday's Child Reports have highlighted and helped place more than seven hundred children and teenagers from our region in loving homes.
In addition, Jack Williams has helped raise more than nine million dollars for special needs adoptions. In April of 2000, Jack created the Jack Williams Endowment for Wednesday's Child, a 501(c)(3) Charity that will ensure continued financial support for special needs adoption. Each year, Jack and his wife Marci give $330,000 in grants to agencies and group homes helping special needs children find adoptive homes. That amount was just increased to $440,000 for 2012.
In December of 1997, Jack was honored at the White House by President Bill Clinton and the First Lady with the first Adoption Excellence Award. Jack and twelve others were singled out for individual achievement for their work on behalf of special needs adoption. Jack was similarly honored with a Presidential Citation from President Ronald Reagan for Wednesday's Child in June of 1986 in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Jack has also been honored by many other groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Friends of the Retarded, the Massachusetts School Counselors Association, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, the Boston Catholic Archdiocese, Protestant Social Services Bureau, B'nai B'rith, Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister as well as the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
During his career, Williams has received four Emmy Awards; two for individual reporting for the series "Crisis at Birth" and one for the "Wednesday's Child" series. In 2001, Jack was honored with the Governor's Award from the New England Emmy Organization for his career accomplishments.
In 1996, Williams was chosen to be a Phi Beta Kappa Fellow. The organization, which is limited to 300 members nationally, recognizes those who have shown outstanding achievement in their careers and high cultural and intellectual ideals.
Williams has received eight honorary doctorate degrees from schools throughout New England including Curry College, Salem State University, Fitchburg State University, Merrimack College, Framingham State University, Worcester State University, Newbury College and Wheelock College. Jack also received an Honorary Associated-Arts- Degree from Massasoit Community College. In 2011, Jack was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Emerson College in Boston.
A Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of the University of Oregon, Jack earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and was inducted into the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication Hall of Fame in November of 2005. Upon graduation, Jack also was inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism honorary society.
Jack and his wife, Marci, live in the Greater Boston area and appreciate how New England has welcomed them as neighbors and friends over now more than a third of a century.