Stuart Scott, the 1987 Carolina alumnus who spent 21 years at ESPN as one of the company’s most beloved personalities, was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame on October 23. After battling cancer for seven years, Scott — who infused sports highlights and discussion with a conversational, relatable delivery and represented a culture that had been missing from the television sports landscape — passed away in January.
“Stuart beat cancer because he won at life,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt said during the induction ceremony to the Hall of Fame based in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. “He set an example of courage and perseverance and dignity for those who knew him and loved him, and through the Stuart Scott Foundation, it passes on to many more people.”
Susan King, dean of the School of Media and Journalism, paid tribute to Scott by quoting some of the journalists that nominated him for induction. The letters poured in after his death, King said, and his impact will continue to be felt because of Scott’s broadcasting coaching tree.
“There are now hundreds of young journalists, men and women, black and white, who will be true to their experience, authentic, real, talented,” she said. “I believe that those young people will be Stuart Scott’s legacy as a pioneer, and I only wish that he was here tonight to feel that gift that he shared with the public and this new generation.”
Tar Heel, U.S. Women’s Soccer legend and World Football Hall of Fame member Mia Hamm officially inducted Scott and encouraged attendees to honor him “by living our lives with more honor, with more integrity, with fairness, compassion, grace, dignity, and above all joy.”
“To be completely present in the company of others, because Stuart always was,” she said. “When you were talking to him, he was there with you.”
Hamm introduced Scott’s sister, Susan, who accepted the induction and remembered her younger brother as a young dreamer and as an inspiration in his cancer fight.
“I don’t know why some of us survive cancer and it takes others, but I do know this: It is never about beating it physically, because in the end, we’re all just dust,” Susan Scott said. “It is about beating it mentally, and perhaps more importantly, spiritually. And on those two fronts, Stuart Scott was a boss.”
The event included a video which interspersed clips of Scott’s time at ESPN, WRAL, “Late Night with Roy” and his 2001 Carolina commencement speech. It also included tributes from UNC media and journalism alumni. Later, at the 2015 “Late Night with Roy” event, Scott was remembered again with a particularly poignant video clip of Scott pointing to the interlocking “NC” at center court of the Smith Center in 2004, stating: “That’s what it’s all about, right there. That’s on the floor. That’s on your shirt. That’s in your heart.”
Said Hamm, as she remembered Scott: “Let’s be kinder and more loving to one another and always remember what bound Stuart to so many of us in this room is what he knew and what so many of us feel: that every day is a great day to be a Tar Heel.”