PASADENA, March 17, 2016 — Veteran media executive Paula Madison will address students, family, faculty, staff, and the community at Pasadena City College’s 91st Commencement ceremony.
The ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m.
With more than 35 years’ experience in broadcast journalism and media production, Madison has broken barriers throughout her career. In 2000, when she assumed the role of president and general manager of KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, she became the first African-American woman to lead a network-owned station in a top-five market. Named one of Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” in 2013, she served as executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBCUniversal from 2006 to 2011.
“We are so lucky to have an executive of Ms. Madison’s caliber speak to our students at this year’s Commencement ceremony,” said Superintendent-President Rajen Vurdien, Ph.D. “Growing up in Harlem as the daughter of immigrant parents from Jamaica and China, Paula’s life story is one that many of our students will find familiar. I’m sure her address will inspire and motivate our students as they transition beyond PCC. I very much look forward to welcoming her to our campus."
Madison was born in Harlem and attended Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx. She spent the early part of her career as a newspaper reporter in New York and Texas before returning to New York City as assistant news director at WNBC, eventually becoming that station’s vice president and news director.
She moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to take the top job at KNBC-TV, and when the network purchased Telemundo, Madison assumed responsibility for the newly acquired Telemundo stations in Los Angeles. When she accepted the role of chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, she was charged with managing relationships with a broad range of communities during the company’s 2011 high-profile merger with Comcast.
Beyond the world of media, Madison has interests in media, sports, and various real estate, consumer, financial, and trading businesses, including at one time serving as owner of the Los Angeles Sparks basketball team. She recently produced the documentary “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China,” which chronicled her journey to her maternal grandfather’s homeland.
Madison serves on the boards of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and the Greater Los Angeles United Way, and is a past chairman of the California Science Center Foundation, vice chair of National Medical Fellowships, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Cardinal Spellman High School, and chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation. Among her many awards are the First Amendment Service Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College.