ABC News correspondent Pierre Thomas to deliver 2004 Virginia Tech commencement address

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 17, 2004 – ABC News Justice Department Correspondent Pierre Thomas will address the 2004 graduates of Virginia Tech during the University Commencement exercises Friday, May 14 at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field.

"We are truly honored to have Pierre Thomas speak at our 2004 University Commencement exercises," said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. "His remarkable accomplishments in the field of broadcast journalism will certainly inspire our graduates."

A Virginia Tech graduate (communication studies '84), Thomas has covered the U.S. Justice Department and law enforcement issues for ABC News since 2000, reporting on "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and contributing to "Good Morning America," "This Week," "Nightline," and other ABC News special events.

He has covered a variety of major news stores including the Robert Hanssen FBI spy scandal, the Oklahoma City Bombing missing FBI files controversy, and the Chandra Levy case. Thomas was a significant contributor to ABC News' team coverage of the September 11 attacks and their aftermath, coverage that won the network's news division a coveted Peabody Award and a DuPont Award.

A native of Amherst County, Va., Thomas began his journalism career with the Roanoke Times and joined the Washington Post in 1987. During his 10-year career at the Post, Thomas first covered local Virginia politics, police and courts for the Metro section. He then went to work on the Metro investigative staff and the National staff where he covered the Justice Department and law enforcement issues.

From 1997 to 2000, Thomas was CNN's Justice Department correspondent, reporting breaking news on terrorism, cyber-crime, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the capture of the railway killer, and the Justice Department's involvement in the Elian Gonzales case.

A member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Thomas has won numerous awards and recognition during his journalism career. In 1991, he was part of a team whose work was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on illegal gun use in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1991, and again in 1992, Thomas won the Mort Mintz Investigative Award, and was a finalist in 1993 for the Livingston Young Journalist Award. In 1994, he received the Pass Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for his article, "Beyond Grief and Fear."

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.