Longtime NYT Science Editor to Receive Honorary Degree

JohnWilfordPicHe’s won two Pulitzer Prizes and his account of man’s first walk on the moon still stands today as a bold step in scientific journalism. Later this year, John Noble Wilford will receive an honorary degree from the University of Tennessee, where he graduated in 1955 with a degree in journalism.

From today’s announcement:

The renowned journalist wrote the New York Times‘ front-page story about the first walk on the moon, which has become the most widely used account of the historic event. He covered all three Apollo missions for the Times. Wilford won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his reporting of science and space exploration, and again in 1987 as part of the reporting team that covered the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

“Mr. Wilford is widely regarded as the best science journalist over the last forty years and is our college’s most distinguished alumnus,” College of Communication and Information Dean Mike Wirth said. “His devotion to covering science and helping nonscientists gain a better understanding of the scientific world make him most deserving of this distinguished honor.”

Wilford retired from the Times in 2009 but still contributes the occasional piece. He will receive an honorary doctorate of letters and science from UT’s College of Communication and Information on May 7. It is the university’s sixth honorary degree.

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.