Laura Walker was appointed President of Bennington College in summer 2020 and took office on August 1. Before joining Bennington, she was the founding President and CEO of New York Public Radio and held that position for 23 years. She is currently an Executive Fellow in Residence at the Yale School of Management and an advisor to New York Public Radio, Common Sense Media and a range of startups.
New York Public Radio is an independent non profit that owns the nation’s largest public radio station group and is one of the world’s preeminent producers of podcasts and national radio stations and reaches 26 million people each month, including Radiolab, On the Media, and The New Yorker Radio Hour.
Under her leadership, NYPR increased its annual budget from $8 million to $95 million, its employees from 55 to 425 and its monthly audience from one million to 26 million and led the acquisitions of The Gothamist, 4 stations of New Jersey Public Radio and of WQXR Radio from The New York Times. Since 2000, NYPR has been honored with 10 George Foster Peabody Awards and five Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Awards. A pioneer in podcasting, she was responsible for the creation of WNYC Studios which was one of the top 3 podcast studios in the world, with 32 million downloads a month.
Ms. Walker was honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporate for Public Broadcasting. In 2009 and again in 2017, she was named by Crain’s as one of New York City’s 50 Most Powerful Women. Ms. Walker began her professional career as a print journalist. She later moved to National Public Radio where she worked as a producer. At Carnegie Hall, where she launched the award-winning series, AT&T Presents Carnegie Hall Tonight. After business school, she joined Sesame Workshop as the Vice President of Development. Ms. Walker sits on the boards of The Commonwealth Fund, Yale Center for Customer Insights, Tribune Media Company, and the Eagle Picher Trust.
She was recognized in May with the honorable Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award by the Municipal Arts Society for her notable contribution to the public media landscape.
Ms. Walker holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in History magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University, where she was an Olin Scholar.
Photo credit: Janice Yi