Tamron Hall, a national NBC correspondent who cohosts the third hour of the
show, has been tapped to fill Bill Cosby's seat on Temple University's board of trustees.
The appointment is significant on multiple fronts: The 36-member board, like many other university boards, has been under pressure to appoint more women. She will be Temple's fourth.
Hall, 45, an African American and 1992 Temple grad, has spoken out against domestic abuse. She will fill a seat left vacant in December by the embattled entertainer, who resigned amid rising allegations that he sexually assaulted women over decades.
And she's got star power.
"We went up [to New York] and had lunch with her. She blew my socks off," said Patrick O'Connor, chairman of the board of trustees. "She's a home run for us. . . . She's an exciting, vibrant, loyal alum. She'll add a new dimension to our board."
An official vote on Hall will come Tuesday when the board of trustees meets, but O'Connor said Hall already had the support she needs.
Hall could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Featured on the cover of the current issue of Temple Magazine, Hall gushes about the school.
"I'm the girl who came to Temple never having seen Philadelphia," she said. "This city gave me my soul. This university gave me my confidence."
Hall, who grew up in Luling, Texas, was determined to attend Temple after she saw one of its sports teams on television and decided to visit, O'Connor said. She earned her bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism.
She joined NBC in 2007 and currently cohosts the 9 a.m. hour of Today, called TODAY'S Take. She also anchors NewsNation at 11 a.m. on MSNBC.
Hall previously spent 10 years at a news station in Chicago, where she got a one-on-one interview with Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, shortly before he announced his run for president. She began her career at television stations in Texas.
Her passion for fighting domestic violence is personal.
"Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year and three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day," she said on Today's "Shine a Light Series" website. "Among these women was my sister, Renate, who was a victim of domestic violence. She was murdered in Texas in 2004 in a domestic violence case that, officially, is still unsolved."
Her father, she said, died soon after her sister "of what my mother believes was a broken heart."
In 2010, Hall received Temple's Lew Klein Alumni in the Media award. She recently visited the campus with a niece who is interested in attending, O'Connor said.
"It's wonderful that we were able to find someone of such national stature and prominence and intellect to serve on the board," said Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Theodore A. McKee, a Temple board member who went with O'Connor to New York to meet Hall. "It's also positive that she will help us to do more to increase gender diversity on the board."
Temple's board, O'Connor said, will continue to try to recruit female trustees when openings occur, but he also pointed out that 12 of the seats are filled by commonwealth appointees - so the state needs to help.
"We'll have more women," he said. "It's been on our agenda for a while."