2014 Commencement Speaker

Rachel Martin ’96, distinguished broadcast journalist and host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday, will receive an honorary degree from University of Puget Sound and address this year’s graduates during the university’s Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 18, at 2 p.m. in Baker Stadium.


Martin gained a national reputation when she started as a national security correspondent for NPR in 2010. Covering defense and intelligence issues, she traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan, reporting on the wars and counterinsurgency. She also reported extensively on the changing demographics of the U.S. military—from women entering combat units, to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Prior to her work in national security, Martin served as NPR’s religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded “Best Radio Feature” by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007.

Truly a citizen of the world, Martin also worked as an NPR foreign correspondent, covering the London terrorist attacks, federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup, and shifting cultural identities in Europe. She started covering Afghanistan long before being named national security correspondent for NPR, reporting from the region as early as 2003 on the reconstruction efforts during the U.S, invasion. She has reported extensively on women’s issues in Afghanistan, the U.S.-NATO fight against the insurgency, and the country’s budding government. Additionally Martin has covered U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Of her time at Puget Sound, Martin has said, “I learned to question long-held assumptions—to question the obvious and obscure, to dig deep in order to discover the truth of an issue or a person. These were lessons that would serve me throughout my life and career.”

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a reporter and producer.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Puget Sound, and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.

At this year’s Commencement, the university will also bestow honorary degrees on author Amitav Ghosh, business leader Mark C. Pigott, and civic leader James L. Walton.