George Alfred Strait, III (1945- )

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George Alfred Strait, III, an award-winning journalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1945. Strait received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Boston University in 1967 and a Master of Science in Biochemical Genetics from Atlanta University in Georgia in 1969. He is a Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity member, also known as the Boulé, the oldest African American Greek Lettered Fraternity in the United States.

As a Biochemist, finding a position in his discipline in the late 1960s was arduous, and a few companies refused to hire him at a managerial level. Strait took a job as a taxicab driver while searching for a professional job and landed one as a disc jockey on television for a brief period. Later, he left Atlanta for Washington, D.C., and ended up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Strait was active with the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists during its founding in 1974. In 1975, he helped found the National Association of Black Journalists. Two years later, in 1977, he began working as the Medical Correspondent with ABC News World News Tonight, becoming the first medical and health reporter in network television news history.

In 1993, Strait was Chairman of the Board at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in San Francisco, California, a philanthropic foundation for improving the health and life chances of the disadvantaged. With the Foundation, he was in charge of the online coverage of the International AIDS conference in Barcelona, Spain. While with the Foundation, Strait directed ABC’s national healthcare reform debate coverage. He also investigated the syphilis experiments on African American men in Tuskegee, Alabama, producing The Deadly Deception, which aired on the PBS broadcast, NOVA. During his tenure with ABC, Strait covered Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, and many other key figures in U.S. politics. He left ABC News in 1999.

In 2002, Strait became the Senior Vice President of Content and Media of the Dr. Spock Company in Menlo Park, California, and from 2003 to 2006, he served as assistant vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2007, Strait joined the National Institutes of Health as the Communications Director.

Strait is a recipient of the Alfred I. DuPont Award, a Gold Medal Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, among other accolades.