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Craig Melvin '01 (middle) with coworkers

In NYC: Craig Melvin ’01

The art of sharing stories

NBC’s Craig Melvin ’01 credits makeup and lighting with making him look good on TV, but from watching him since he made the jump to NBC (as co-anchor of “Weekend TODAY,” national correspondent for “TODAY” and MSNBC anchor), it’s about much more than the lack of shine on his nose.

Melvin is smart. He’s engaging, and he loves meeting people and telling their stories. Wofford proudly claims him, and he’s quick to claim Wofford and his South Carolina roots as well — using Main Building as the backdrop for MSNBC’s live broadcast of the state’s Republican primary, interviewing Wofford faculty and students about the election and even wearing a Wofford hat while on the air. He was the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2015 and helped Omar Elmore ’19 secure an internship this summer with MSNBC in New York. Melvin also serves on the college’s board of trustees.

“I was a scholarship kid. I had a lot of help going to college,” says Melvin, whose mother was a schoolteacher and father a postal clerk. “There wasn’t a lot of money lying around for college.”

When President Nayef Samhat approached him about serving on the board, Melvin knew that he didn’t have a surplus of time, but he still had a strong interest in the college and desire to give back.

“College is the great equalizer. I’m proof of that,” says Melvin. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity for me to spend time with Dean Roberta Bigger ’81. When you’re a student you don’t fully appreciate the role of the dean of students. Now I tell her, ‘God bless you!’ For 30 years she’s been a human piñata for students. Still, she shows up for work every day and surrounds herself with bright people, knowing she’s going to be vilified. I know; I was part of the machine that burned her in effigy for four years.”

Melvin considers his choice to attend Wofford one of the smartest decisions he’s ever made, right alongside marrying his wife, ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak, and their decision to have children, Delano “Del,” now 3, and Sybil Ann “Sibby,” born last fall. Melvin has shared some of the reasons he chose Wofford on a series for NBC.com geared toward helping parents and students through the college admission process.

“I spent some time talking about 429 North Church Street and why it was so special to me,” says Melvin. “I knew I wasn’t the kind of guy who could go to college with 15,000 people. I needed something smaller. Wofford’s reputation even back then was stellar. It was far enough away from home, and to me it just felt right.”

Melvin grew up in Columbia, S.C., and got his start with WIS-TV when he was in high school. Since then he’s covered the Olympics, presidential elections and inaugurations, Super Bowls, natural disasters and even Christmas miracles. 

“I get to meet some cool people. Sometimes that’s glamorous, sometimes that’s not. When a news crew shows up it’s either a good day or a really bad day,” says Melvin. His favorite people to interview aren’t famous or political figures. “I love talking to ordinary people who have done something exceptional.”One of those recent stories hit particularly close to home. The Rev. Lawrence Meadows ’99, Craig’s older brother and a minister at New Bethel Baptist Church in Woodruff, S.C.,was diagnosed with early onset Stage IV colon cancer. He was only 39. 

“It was his idea,” says Melvin. “He wanted to use the worst thing that’s happened to him to shine a light on the disease and provide hope for others.” 

Now anyone with an internet connection can learn more about the disease and recommended screening by watching Melvin and Meadows. Melvin, a self-professed man of faith, also set an example for viewers by scheduling a colonoscopy for himself and posting social media updates on the procedure and results.No, Craig, it’s not the lights or the makeup that make you look good on TV. Just as you’re drawn to inspirational stories and stories of uncommon good, we’re drawn to you for the same reason.

By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89