Born in 1959, Keith Olbermann is best known for being one of cable TV's foremost commentators who attained a large left-wing viewership because of his clever news reportage and penetrating analyses of current affairs. However, what many people may not know is that Olbermann started in sports journalism, where he spent the first 20 years of his career. This includes his work as an award-winning sports correspondent for CNN during the 1980s, which led to him co-hosting ESPN's “SportsCenter” for several years, before the broadcaster jumped ship to Fox Sports, where he served as a producer, anchor, and host over the years.
These days, however, Olbermann is typically recognized more for his work on the wildly successful "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," which ran on MSNBC from 2003–2011. In addition to his political commentary, Olbermann is also an avid baseball historian, having originally started his career as a play-by-play announcer for WHTR (the radio station for the Hackley School, a private Ivy League prep school) while he was still just an adolescent. Something of a wunderkind, he published his first book, "The Major League Coaches," when he was only 14. Following his 9/11 coverage in New York, Olbermann received an Edward R. Murrow Award, which is often described as the most prestigious honor in journalism.
After graduating from the Hackley School at the age of 16, he enrolled at nearby Cornell University. At Cornell, Olbermann followed his passions for broadcasting and athletics by serving as the sports director for Ithaca’s student-run commercial radio station, WVBR. But while his extracurriculars were going well, Olbermann was hit with mononucleosis, which forced him to withdraw from school during the second half of his freshman year. As a result, the young man had to take 28 credits his last semester just so he could graduate on time. Forgoing much sleep that semester, Olbermann completed his courses—to the amazement of many teachers and friends. In 1979, he graduated from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Communication.
Olbermann has since been exceedingly generous with his time and talent in support of the Cornell community. In recent years he's returned numerous times, including in 1998 when he was asked to speak at the Senior Convocation during the university's 130th commencement ceremonies. In 2011 Olbermann was back, this time to deliver a speech where he advised his audience of students to learn how "essential" cutting corners is in the professional world, because: "You can't have the time to do everything and give it 100 percent."
Aside from great advice, Olbermann has also given back financially to his alma mater. In 2013 he made a generous donation to help Cornell build the Olbermann-Corneliess Studios, which now serves as the new headquarters of WVBR, the student radio station that Olbermann apprenticed at early in his career. Speaking to the impact that his alma mater had on his professional life, Olbermann opined, “Everything I have began at WVBR, and I’m honored to help future generations of broadcasters who’ll be able to gratefully say the same thing."