Chris Wallace ’65 has been named the recipient of the 2023 Alumni Award, The Hotchkiss School’s highest honor. Wallace has covered many of the world’s biggest stories throughout his award-winning journalism career, which spans more than 50 years. He is currently an anchor for CNN and hosts Who's Talking to Chris Wallace? on HBO Max and CNN, where he interviews guests across the spectrum of news, sports, entertainment, art, and culture.
“Hotchkiss played a big role during a key time in my life. I look back on those years fondly. I was surprised and delighted to be asked to come back to receive the Alumni Award. I can’t wait to return to campus and engage with the students there,” Wallace said. He will be honored during a ceremony in Lakeville in May.
Wallace, the son of Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame, spent the summer before his senior year at Hotchkiss interning for news anchor Walter Cronkite. He treasured the experience and decided to work as a reporter for The Boston Globe in 1969 after graduating from Harvard University. That job launched his impressive career.
In his September 2015 Hotchkiss Alum of the Month profile, Wallace commented on his success in the broadcasting field. “What separates people who succeed is not necessarily talent or brains, but energy and persistence. You have to keep at it daily while maintaining your standards. I have been lucky and have had great opportunities,” he said, noting that he spent a week with Mother Teresa in 1979 just after she won the Nobel Peace Prize. “I have had a wonderful career.”
Prior to joining CNN in January 2022, Wallace was the anchor of FOX News Sunday. Throughout his almost two decades at FOX, Wallace participated in coverage of every major political event, secured interviews with dignitaries and U.S. and foreign leaders, covered five presidential elections, and interviewed every president since George H.W. Bush.
Wallace moderated the first presidential debate of the 2020 election season, and he became the first journalist from FOX to moderate a general election presidential debate in 2016. “My job is to keep them honest and to challenge their contradictions and arguments,” Wallace said in his Alum of the Month profile about interviewing politicians and officials. “A tough interview may not be what you think—combative is good when it gets you to the truth.”
Wallace has won every major broadcast news award for his reporting, including three Emmy Awards, the DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, the Peabody Award, and the National Press Foundation’s Sol Taishoff Award for Broadcast Journalism. In 2021, he received the Panetta Institute's Jefferson-Lincoln Award. In 2020, he was honored with the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism and was named to the top spot on Mediaite's Most Influential in News Media for his "clear-eyed reporting, analysis, and commentary throughout the year." Wallace also received the ICFJ Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism for "his unbiased, piercing approach to interviews." In 2013, Wallace earned the Paul White Award for lifetime achievement and service to electronic journalism from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
Wallace is also The New York Times bestselling author of Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice and Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World.
Before joining FOX, Wallace worked at ABC News for 14 years where he served as the chief correspondent for PrimeTime and a substitute host for Nightline. Prior to ABC, Wallace was NBC's chief White House correspondent and moderated Meet the Press, making him the only person to have hosted two Sunday talk shows. He also anchored the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News.
Since 1931, the Hotchkiss Alumni Association has honored notable alumni with the Alumni Award. Selected by the nominating committee of the Board of Governors of the Alumni Association, recipients have brought honor and distinction to themselves and Hotchkiss through their achievements.