Mike Brown and his wife, Nancy, have literally helped build a new university with their generosity.
University alum Keisha Grant is quickly making her mark in television journalism and recently earned a spot on the NAACP’s “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” list.
When Keisha Grant’s father asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her response was a “teacher” or “veterinarian”. At that moment, the 14-year-old was watching the local newscast with her parents. Then her father pointed to the television screen and asked, “Have you ever thought about this?” It was then that her aspiration was realized.
She was young and still had plenty of time to decide what she wanted to become. But Grant’s inquisitive nature and outgoing personality sealed her decision at an early age, allowing her to begin to focus on what would become an illustrious career in television broadcasting.
On Dec. 10, 2011, Grant was named one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” by the Connecticut chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was an honor bestowed upon her by a community that has come to know her well, specifically on weeknights from 5 to 11 as she co-anchors the NBC Connecticut News.
“I am very proud of her and her accomplishments,” said Mike Laponis, Professor of Communications at the University of La Verne. “She has a true passion as a journalist and telling stories for the greater good of society.”
After concluding her stay at La Verne in 1996, she immediately began working at a cable television station in West Covina and shortly thereafter moved to KMIR in Palm Springs to work as a general assignment reporter. A couple of years later, she landed an anchor and reporting job at ABC-6 and Fox-28 in Columbus, Ohio.
It was in Columbus, at WSYX, that Grant’s report, “Black Man In Amish Land,” earned an award at the 2002 Midwest Regional EMMYs.
That helped her springboard in January 2003 to NBC Connecticut News, where she has covered some of Connecticut’s most memorable stories of the last decade. Most recently she led the station’s continuous coverage of Hurricane Irene .
Her NAACP award came in recognition of her commitment to community involvement, but her achievements have also been awarded by The Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Society of Professional Journalists and MADD.
“My parents have always been, and continue to be, my greatest influences,” Grant said. “They really taught me from a young age that, with a vision, hard work and lots of perseverance, anything is possible.”
Grant credits her success to her parents, who she calls her role models, and to the Communications Department at La Verne, which she believes was instrumental in showing her the way to success in broadcast journalism.
“I can honestly say that every department faculty member who had a hand in my college years really helped shape me into who I am today,” Grant said. “They taught me how to bring a dream to fruition. I still thank them for that to this day.”
“I always enjoyed having her in class,” Laponis said. “She was hard-working and had a high level of participation. She was on air on KULV (now LeoFM) and was an energetic and articulate air personality.”
Grant, who lives with her husband in Farmington Valley, Conn., keeps in touch with faculty in the Communications Department, as well as life-long friends from her sorority and from Studebaker-Hanawalt residence hall. She says her professional journey could not have been possible had it not been for her college years at La Verne.
“Dare to dream” is her advice for current and future Leos. She challenges others to work hard in order to make their dreams a reality. Wise words from an alumna who has lived up to that challenge.