CNN's Drew Griffin, a Dear Friend

By Bob Rucker

Board of Governors, NorCal/San Francisco Chapter Diversity Committee Chair

We all know the great joy of seeing students blossom and excel.
But today, saying goodbye to one so special to us, is very tough.
Ben and I are devastated by the news that our dear friend Drew Griffin has died at 60 from cancer. Drew was in my very first journalism class at the Univ. of Illinois, UC in 1983. He was already doing agriculture futures
reports on the radio, so I recruited him to take my TV news class. Talk about a serious minded, hardworking and determined student who loved dropping into my office hours to pick your brain about the business. He was someone special. Rarely do you encounter students who volunteer to work long and hard to master
the craft, and be excited to dig into tips and stories few ever found curious to check out.
Over time I’ve written many letters of rec for this incredible man as he moved on to TV jobs in Seattle, LA and then CNN. I’ve also been blessed and honored that he was ever willing to write a few letters of support for me. 

During his stellar career, Drew always took my phone calls, and made time in his busy schedule
to guest lecture whenever I asked. My fellow native Chicagoan won all kinds of regional and national
reporting awards in TV, but we both most enjoyed talking about Chicago politics, the White Sox, Cubs and Bears!

Drew Griffin was very proud of being an attentive husband and family man with three wonderful children.
I knew he was looking forward to retiring, but I didn’t know he was battling cancer. Later this week
when we travel to Atlanta for Christmas, I had hoped he, Ben and I could have lunch again. They first met
once before, and hit it off beautifully. 

With the news today, Ben and I just cried.

I love and care about all my former students, but this loss is profoundly deep and painful. Our profession has lost a giant in investigative journalism, and we have lost a most rewarding lifetime friendship. 
Monday morning, 12/19, Don reacted to his friend’s passing on-air.
The treasures in our profession are always very hard to lose.