NBC News Producer and Webster Alumna Erika Josephson-Heise Named the 2024 Commencement Speaker

Webster's CommencementErika Josephson-Heise, the executive producer of “NBC News Daily,” was named the 2024 Commencement Speaker for Webster University. She holds a master’s in international relations from Webster’s Geneva campus. Webster’s 105th Commencement will be held on its main campus in the St. Louis area on May 11.

College and school ceremonies will start at 8 a.m. The main ceremony, which will feature Josephson-Heise’s speech, will start at noon.

“Erika is an example of the heights one can climb when you are a Gorlok. She holds one of the top leadership roles in her field and shows a passion and commitment to helping educate millions of Americans every day about what is happening around the world,” Webster University President Julian Z. Schuster said. “When she was a Webster student, she studied at our Geneva campus and immersed herself in the international environment that Webster is renowned for offering. Today, that experience is applied to her current role, as the news coverage helps viewers better understand how interconnected we all are in our high-speed world. I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”

Erika Josephson-HeiseJosephson-Heise earned a master’s in international relations at Webster’s Geneva Campus in 2010. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University - Bloomington. (Photo - Erika Josephson-Heise).

Last year, she was named the executive producer of “NBC News Daily,” the No. 1 afternoon news program on all of television. “NBC News Daily” is broadcast nationally on NBC-owned stations and affiliates and also airs on NBC News NOW, the fastest growing streaming news network in the U.S. It airs live from noon to 4 p.m. EST, with the option for affiliates in each time zone to broadcast a one-hour block of the show either just before or just after the local afternoon news program.

Previously, she worked as a senior producer on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC. Her career at NBC started on the NBC News assignment desk and later in roles as a producer for “Weekend Today and “Later Today.”  She also spent seven years working at CBS News, producing stories from the U.S. and remote locations around the world.

Josephson-Heise’s Commencement speech will take place during the main Commencement ceremony in the Loretto-Hilton Center. In addition to delivering the keynote address, she also will have an honorary doctorate of letters degree conferred on her during the ceremony.

Josephson-Heise is married to Stephen Heise (BA ’05 College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Global MA ’10), and they have one daughter.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected to be the Commencement speaker and to receive an honorary doctorate,” Josephson-Heise said. “My studies at Webster University helped me gain a better understanding of global affairs, which has made me a better journalist and communicator. I hope that my speech that day will encourage more graduates to go forth and make a positive impact on the world.”

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