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Kitty Pilgrim '76

K Pilgrim Headshot smallKitty Pilgrim '76

Read Kitty's Bio

What being an alumna means to me...

What Manhattanville means to me Manhattanville has always meant family to me. I watched my older sister Susan Overbagh delightedly open her acceptance letter to Manhattanville and a year later had the same privilege. In my freshman year my sister and I were actually roommates in Spellman Dorm!

For me, Manhattanville served as a gateway to the world. I was one of the few students of the Russian language, and achieved fluency while at the college which led to my graduate work at Columbia University, and my journalism career. As students, we often spoke French at dinner. My French became remarkably fluid, and also peppered with the latest slang words, which we all taught each other with great delight. The choral works that we sang at our Manhattanville Christmas concerts are still my favorites, and based on that experience, I later went on to join the prestigious St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir in New York. In addition to my major, Political Science I remember some fascinating extracurricular courses History of Dance, French Medieval Legends, and Japanese art. My sister and I often loaded up our schedule with the maximum number of courses per semester – six!

During winter break we dabbled in non academic topics, - African dance, Chinese cooking, and yoga. The Russian Club was great fun, and we held many celebrations with traditional Russian food and music – very exotic fare for the mid 1970's.

The student body was very international, and there was a strong focus on Asian culture at Manhattanville. Immediately upon graduation I felt no worry in picking up and moving to Tokyo for a modeling assignment. I also attribute my ease in working in China and South Korea, to these early introductions to the region. Manhattanville was very nurturing in that it gave me the strength, confidence and tools to succeed in later life. Much of my success in later life is attributable to the quality of the education I received at the institution.


Kitty Pilgrim is a world-renowned journalist and an author of popular fiction. She worked as a reporter and anchor at the CNN global network for the past 24 years reaching US audiences as well as those in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

In addition she hosted a variety of shows including her own morning show "Early Edition," and "Lou Dobbs Tonight." She received an Overseas Press Club citation for reporting in Moscow in the early 1990's.

In Cuba, she was part of the team that won an Overseas Press Club award for its series of live broadcasts from Havana in 1995.

She won a New York Society of Black Journalists Award for field reporting on social and economic issues in South Africa.

In domestic reporting she often tackled scientific topics politics and economic issues.

She has had extensive experience reporting on terrorism, was part of the CNN team that worked to broadcast continuously in New York during the 9-11 attack

She was the lead correspondent for domestic terrorism reporting in the Southeast Bureau of CNN during the Birmingham Alabama abortion clinic bombing in 1998, and subsequent hunt for fugitive Eric Rudolph.

Pilgrim switched careers in June 2010 to become a writer of popular fiction and is completing a series for thriller novels for her publisher, Scribner. The first of the series EXPLORER'S CODE was released July 2011. Pilgrim focuses on plotlines that highlight real achievements in science and exploration, often calling on scientific experts to collaborate with her on information and fact-check her data.

She stays active in the foreign policy world through her membership in the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Paris based Reporters without Borders. She is a full member of the Explorer's Club of New York. Pilgrim has been a single mother for more than two decades and has two sons, William and Beau, who have both completed their college studies.

Click here to view Kitty's Website & more about her new book, The Explorer's Code.