Club President: 1991-92
In 1967, Nancy Duffy joined the staff of WHEN and became the first woman news broadcaster in Central New York. She remained in broadcasting for almost 40 years. But, she is probably as well or better known as the founder and former president of the Syracuse St. Patrick's Parade, which she started in 1983. The parade has become one of Syracuse's largest community events.
During her career, Nancy won dozens of awards and honors, including a Post-Standard and New York State "Woman of Achievement," the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Syracuse Press Club, and others from professional and community organizations to which she contributed her time, talents, and abilities.
She graduated with honor from Marywood College in Scranton in 1961. At Marywood, she won the St. Thomas More English Medal of Achievement. After college, she took her vows as a Catholic nun and was known as Sister Jude Michael. She left the convent a year later.
Nancy started her news career as a reporter in Scranton, Pennsylvania, quickly moving to her hometown paper, the Cortland Standard. In 1966, she joined the Syracuse Herald-Journal as the city's first woman police reporter. A year later, she became Syracuse's first woman television reporter when her career took her to WHEN radio and TV.
In 1970, Nancy scored another first when she became a press secretary for the City of Syracuse, the first woman to have held that position.
The following year, she returned to Channel 5. She stayed there six years. In 1977, she switched to Channel 9, where she has been in such roles as a news anchor (for 10 years), talk-show host, telethon hostess (Muscular Dystrophy Association), producer (Duffy's People series and Community Connections), and reporter.
Nancy also organized the 50th Annual Baseball Hall of Fame parade in Cooperstown in 1989. She was a co-organizer of the "Save Our Syracuse Symphony" campaign in 1984-85, and sat on the symphony's board of directors for five years. Her other awards include National Angel Award for the Best Special: Religion in Media; first Downtown Award for Excellence in Media in 1986; Project Children Humanitarian Award in 1993; Women in Communications Outstanding Communicator in 1985, and the Mayor's Achievement Award in 1985. She has been involved in the Poetry Workshops for children 8 to 12 years of age, and the Empire State Games; served as honorary co-chairperson of the American Heart Association in 1997, and has been a member of the Onondaga County Traffic Board, and the Syracuse Rotary Club.
With all these activities and accomplishments, Nancy still found time to raise two sons -- Matthew, a lawyer, and Peter, a New York Times writer. She taught broadcasting courses at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a course on Irish Origins in Syracuse at SU's University College.
Nancy died Dec. 22, 2006. --Joseph A. Porcello
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 November 2008 01:58 )