B.A., Journalism, 1984
Mr. Barry Rozner began his career in journalism as a student reporter for NIU’s Northern Star. To help pay for college, he worked as a vendor at all of Chicago’s ballparks—Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, Soldier Field, and Chicago Stadium. In his junior year, Mr. Rozner wrote, edited, and produced the Huskie Herald, NIU’s sports magazine. In 1984, he graduated from NIU with a B.A. in journalism and dreams of becoming a professional sportswriter.
Mr. Rozner landed a part-time job as a sports writer for the Elgin Courier News, which led to a sports writing job at the Daily Herald in 1984. In 1989, the Daily Herald offered him the Chicago Cubs beat, and for the last 15 years, he has been the paper’s featured sports columnist.
In recent years, Mr. Rozner has been a regular on several Chicago radio and TV stations and currently co-hosts the weekly sports radio show, “Hit and Run” (WSCR-AM 670). He is a frequent co-host on many of WSCR’s daily talk shows. Mr. Rozner has also written or co-authored several books, including Ryne Sandberg’s autobiography, Second to Home (1995), Steve Stone’s memoir about Harry Caray, Where’s Harry? (1999), and Mark Grace: Winning with Grace (1999). In addition, he has written several professional athletes' Hall of Fame induction speeches.
Mr. Rozner has received many prestigious awards for his work. The Associated Press has acknowledged his work seven times, with awards that include being named Top Sports Columnist two years in a row. He won first-place honors for three columns, including "Memories of '85 a delightful blur," reflecting on the Super Bowl champion Bears, and a column comparing Tiger Woods to Michael Jordan, written while covering the PGA tour. The Chicago Headline Club (the country’s largest Society of Professional Journalists chapter) has honored him four times with its prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for excellence in journalism. He was named 2007 Sportswriter of the Year by the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago, and NIU’s student newspaper inducted him into the Northern Star Hall of Fame in 2011.
Mr. Rozner has been a strong supporter of NIU for many years. Since February 14, 2008, he has inspired readers with such headlines as “Together Forward . . . School pride swells as healing begins,” and he has written several columns about the father of Daniel Parmenter, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a victim of the shooting.
Mr. Rozner sits on the board of the James P. Lang Scholarship Foundation, which awards college scholarships to children from single-parent homes. Every year he raises money for dozens of charities and talks to students at scores of local schools about the importance of education. In 1998, he was honored by the Little City Foundation for his commitment to helping people with autism and other disabilities. Whether telling the story of a great athlete, helping others overcome challenges, or rallying his alma mater to recover from unimaginable grief, Mr. Barry Rozner demonstrates an exceptional generosity of spirit and service to others.
by Shelley Korth