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Tamron Hall Shares Her Truth at ODU’s Presidents Lecture Series

For many journalists, being on the Today show is a career peak. One would never dream of leaving but that’s exactly what Tamron Hall did. Feeling as though she wasn’t being appreciated, Hall chose to walk away from her position with Today, where she made history as the first black female anchor of the show, and embark on a new journey.

“I’m gonna bet on Tamron” is what she told her mom when she left the Today show. That bet has certainly paid off for the 48-year-old, award-winning journalist.  

Speaking at ODU’s President’s Lecture Series, which are commonly held in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Hall drew such a crowd on Thurs. Mar. 17 that her speech was held in the main center of the Ted where basketball games and graduations take place.

After an introduction by the ODU Women’s Center Director, La Wanza Lett-Brewington, Hall took the stage and immediately expressed her gratitude and sense of humor,

“Hi! Wow, I feel like I’m a Baptist church, you can move down” Hall said to the stacked crowd as she waved them to move to lower seats of the arena, “Oh my gosh, I’m overwhelmed. Thank you so much for being here today”

Photo By Maggie Giordano

She expressed how she appreciated doing speeches, although she never actually writes them, because she enjoys the luxury of seeing people’s humanity. She shared her own humanity with the crowd at ODU through her humor and the truth of her stories.

Hall kept the crowd amused throughout her speech as she told stories of her childhood and experiences as a journalist. Even when she began touching more serious topics such as domestic abuse and death of her sister, Hall never let the mood stay down too long.

Addressing her departure from Today and her future plans, Hall said the strength of being a woman is much to credit for who she is. She believes that it was her time to move on and that she was ready for that. Admitting that 10 years ago, she couldn’t have left her position on the show for many reasons.

Following her speech, Hall took questions from Cathy Lewis, ODU’s Community Engagement Liaison and host of WHRV talk show HearSay, and the audience via Twitter. Here, she opened up, sharing her truth with the crowd and even shedding a few tears.

Photo By Maggie Giordano

Hall’s sister was murdered due to domestic violence and as she shared her experience and her regrets, she was transparent. Admitting that she selfishly didn’t call the police after an incident with her sister’s boyfriend because of her status as a journalist and that she was uneducated on how to handle the situation.

Because of her sister, Hall now works with Safe Horizon, a domestic violence support group and charity, where she has created the Renate fund, named after her sister, to help victims and their families.

Hall’s return to TV won’t happen until she finds a position that she is proud of and that will make her fans proud. She was approached by Harvey Weinstein last summer to produce a talk show of her own, but that fell through amongst his sexual assault allegations. She refuses to settle for any position which doesn’t feel right for her.

Her experiences in life have shaped her career and activist choices, however, if Hall wasn’t a journalist she said she would be a blackjack dealer in Vegas. Her fearless energy is what she credits for getting her this far and what would make her a great blackjack dealer. She advises everyone to have that energy.

“Go get your own greatness. A no is nothing, a no is a yes waiting to happen” Hall said upon closing.

Before everything wrapped up, Hall went into the crowd to take selfies with fans who were visibly grateful for the stories and wisdom she shared. Many pushed and shoved while others simply observed in awe. Whether they got a selfie or not, Hall captivated the audience in the Ted for that hour and left her mark on Monarch history. 

Photo By Maggie Giordano

Hi everyone, I'm Petra (PEE-truh) and I'm an ODU alumna who has branched out to sunny Southern California. Following graduation, I didn't have too much of a plan for where I was going in life but I knew to stay in Virginia was not an option. I wanted more than what was offered there so I started applying to almost every job in all my dream cities and life led me to San Diego. I now do sales, marketing and social media management for a great startup company, Voterfied. I love everything about San Diego and the work I'm doing here. So my advice to everyone, get out of your comfort zone! Take that leap of faith and let life guide you to exactly where you're meant to be. HCXO, Petra!
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