Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Honorary Degree Recipient

Lisa Thomas-Laury

Lisa Thomas-Laury

Lisa Thomas-Laury is a retired news anchor who began her career at Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV, Channel 6 Action News in 1978 at the age of 24. For nearly 38 years, she covered stories of community members around the region, as well as political elections, conventions, and activities, including Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, President Ronal Reagan, and the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

In 1981, Ms. Thomas-Laury received high praise for her reports from London on Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s royal wedding. However, the stories she loved to tell most were the ones of everyday people who had unique experiences and those who had to overcome major obstacles in their lives.

Ms. Thomas-Laury faced her own significant life challenge in 2001 when struck with a rare nerve disorder that remained misdiagnosed for nearly two years. She temporarily left WPVI-TV when her disease progressed, paralyzing one of her vocal cords. Ms. Thomas-Laury underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2004 and returned to her career two and a half years later. Ms. Thomas-Laury retired in May 2016 after a second bone marrow transplant, having spent nearly four decades with WPVI-TV.

After her retirement, Ms. Thomas-Laury decided to tell her own story in a different way, authoring a book titled, “On Camera and Off – When the News is Good & When it’s Not,” which published on October 15, 2017. Through her writing, she wishes to help others navigate through difficult illnesses that may have been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed and hopes that the book will serve as a launching pad to help her start an organization to help people navigate the health care system.

Ms. Thomas-Laury has received three honorary doctorate degrees and numerous other awards, including an Emmy for a public affairs documentary on Philadelphia neighborhoods and Philadelphia’s most prestigious accolade, the Liberty Bell Award.

Ms. Thomas-Laury graduated from Marshall University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1975. She currently resides in Haverford with her husband, Bill, and continues to speak to groups about her experiences and volunteer with numerous charities.