Logo of the Robin Toner Program

Gov. John Kasich to deliver keynote address at Newhouse School’s Toner Prize Celebration March 27

By Wendy S. Loughlin

February 20, 2017
Photo of John Kasich
John Kasich

Ohio Governor John R. Kasich will be the keynote speaker at the award celebration for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting March 27 in Washington, D.C.

The Toner Prize, sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, honors the life and work of late alumna Robin Toner ’76, the first woman to be national political correspondent for The New York Times.

Acclaimed broadcast journalist Bob Dotson G’69, formerly a national correspondent with NBC and now an adjunct professor with the Newhouse School, will serve as master of ceremonies.

“We are honored to host Governor Kasich as the Toner speaker this year,” says Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham. “As a former presidential candidate who has been outspoken about the role of the media, he brings an important voice to an event that highlights high-quality political journalism.”

Kasich was sworn in as Ohio’s 69th governor in 2011. During his time in office, he has closed an $8 billion budget shortfall without a tax increase, reduced taxes by $5 billion and created nearly 450,000 jobs.

Kasich served as a member of Congress for 18 years. As the chairman of the House Budget Committee, he led the effort to balance the federal budget for the first time since 1969 and helped enact historic welfare reform.

After leaving Congress in 2000 and running for President, Kasich worked as a managing director in the Investment Banking Division of Lehman Brothers. He was also a commentator for FOX News and a Presidential Fellow at his alma mater, The Ohio State University. He again ran for President in 2016.

Kasich is the author of three New York Times best-sellers: “Courage is Contagious”; “Stand for Something: The Battle for America’s Soul”; and “Every Other Monday.”

Past keynote speakers for the Toner Prize Celebration include former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden and former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The Toner Prize recipient will be announced at the ceremony. In addition, a young journalist will be recognized in honor of the late "PBS NewsHour" anchor Gwen Ifill, who was a member of the Toner Program advisory board and a friend and former colleague of Robin Toner. Ifill's brother, Roberto "Bert" Ifill, will present the honor.

This is the seventh year the $5,000 prize has been awarded in a national competition. Past awardees include Alec MacGillis of ProPublica, Dan Balz of The Washington Post, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, Molly Ball of The Atlantic, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker and Craig Harris of The Arizona Republic. This year’s winner will be announced at the ceremony in March.

Toner graduated from Syracuse with a dual degree in journalism and political science. She started her journalism career with The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia and reported for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before arriving at The Times in 1985. She was married to former journalist Peter Gosselin and was the mother of twins, Nora and Jacob.

In her nearly 25 years with The Times, she covered five presidential campaigns, scores of congressional and gubernatorial races and most of the country’s major political and policy issues. Toner's work was distinguished by her expertise and insight, meticulous fact-checking and elegant writing style.

The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy described Toner as “a reporter's reporter who deeply cared about the people and the issues she covered.”

Her family, friends and classmates have created the Robin Toner Program in Political Reporting at the Newhouse School to honor her life and work.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. Tickets and tables may be purchased online at http://tonerprogram.syr.edu. For more information, contact Audrey Burian at 315-443-1930 or aaburian@syr.edu. Press requests should be directed to Wendy Loughlin at wsloughl@syr.edu

Updated March 20, 2017.