Reporter, anchor and author Deborah Roberts gave Ball State students a new perspective on women's progress and her own career Monday night at Emens Auditorium. 

Roberts, a longtime news contributor and anchor for programs such as “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “The View” and “Nightline.” encouraged students to fight bias in their lives and to empower those less privileged than themselves.

Roberts is the first Ball State Centennial Celebration speaker for the spring semester. In her speech, she noted the strength of women, but admitted that women still have a long way to go in their pursuit of equality.

“Now, typically I’m an eternal optimist, but truthfully, we have got a lot of work to do,” Roberts said. “The fight against bias goes on.”

Many of Robert’s talking points in her speech revolved around the ways women in particular can 

advance their careers and overcome the gender biases of larger corporate power structures.

Along the way, she spoke about how her own experiences with biases and barriers pushed her to be a better journalist and professional.

“Both of [my parents] labored under the indignities of the Jim Crowe South, but both also managed to see a light in the cracks of that dark system. Both held on to a dream for their children,” Roberts said.

Roberts learned from the examples of her parents and teachers in particular. Her mother was what Roberts described as “something of an early feminist”, and she said that her mother’s example has guided her through much of her professional and personal life.

Roberts’ career in broadcast news has taken her from Montgomery, Alabama, where she was one of the last reporters to interview Rosa Parks, to the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War to the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Audience members like Shelby Pine, a freshman Ball State radiology major, said they were interested in her accomplishments and abilities as an anchor.

“She speaks very well, so she’ll show me better way [to] speak,” Pine said.

Roberts’ skill as a speaker and anchor has earned her four Emmy awards on seven total nominations.

“What I’ve learned is that each one of us at some point in life is waiting for someone to remind us that we are worthy and capable, that there is something that you have that is special that you can contribute to the world to make a vital difference,” Roberts said. “And the key is for you to believe it.”

Roberts left the audience with a simple directive:

“Change is possible,” Roberts said. “We’ve just got to own it.”

Contact John Lynch with comments at jplynch@bsu.edu.