Famous Pioneers


ANDY MURCIA (Class of 1955) – Syndicated columinist, husband of actress Ann Jillian.

(Class of 1958) – Noted character actor of film and, including The Breakfast Club, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Die Hard, among others. Older Pioneer alumni from the 1950s will probably notice a little tribute to Pioneer tradition in The Breakfast Club: “Hagga-nagga!”

(Class of 1958) – Script supervisor for many Hollywood films.

(Class of 1959) – Winner of the first Miami Herald Silver Knight Award for Music, he later taught at NM before pursuing a very successful career as a music composer. He became a household name when his music for the film Rocky became a best seller in 1976. In 1981, he became one of the selected few to compose the soundtrack for a James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only and in 1983 he won the Academy Award for best musical score for The Right Stuff.

FRED FRANCIS (Class of 1962) – Senior Correspondent for NBC News based in NBC’s Washington, DC Bureau. He most recently reported inside Iraq before and during the war. For most of his 28 years with NBC News, Francis has focused on national security, military and diplomatic issues, primarily for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.”

Francis was NBC’s principal reporter during the Persian Gulf War, often breaking developments on an exclusive basis from his post at the Pentagon. He has also had world exclusives on the Iran-Contra affair, the poison gas plant in Libya, the explosion aboard the battleship USS Iowa, the downing of an Iranian Airbus in the Persian Gulf War, missile proliferation in the third world and the military ties between Israel and South Africa. Following the Persian Gulf War, Francis worked for three years as the senior correspondent for NBC News’ prime-time newsmagazine “Dateline NBC” before returning to daily reporting. He covered a variety of topics in prime time, including his groundbreaking reports on Gulf War Syndrome, and a report on potential problems with the DPT vaccination resulting in federal re-examination of the issue.

Over the years, he has covered every major crisis and conflict involving U-S policy and American troops. Francis distinguished himself during his coverage of Castro’s Cuba, the Lebanese civil war, the overthrow of [former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio] Somoza, the Iranian Revolution, the taking of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, Solidarity in Poland, fighting in Belfast, and interviews with [Muammar] Qaddafi and [Yassir] Arafat. He has reported from China and spent weeks at a time covering Israel and the Soviet Union for NBC News.

Francis has twice won a national news Emmy and he has also won the coveted Columbia-DuPont award.

STEVE CARLTON (Class of 1963) – After graduating from North Miami, he began a long career in professional baseball as a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. He won four Cy Young awards for his pitching skills and his slider pitch – his signature – caused many a batter to strike out. He retired from baseball in 1988 and the Phillies retired his number 32 the following year. In 1994, Carlton was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility. (Ref: www.carlton32.com)

JEFF ZUCKER (Class of 1982) – Jeff Zucker was named President, NBC Entertainment, in December 2000, responsible for overseeing the network’s entire entertainment schedule. In May 2002, Zucker’s role was expanded to include both NBC Studios and NBC Enterprises. He reports to Andy Lack, President and Chief Operating Officer, NBC.

This year, Zucker led the network to one of its most successful and dominant seasons in the history of television. His leadership contributed to an unprecedented victory in primetime, latenight and daytime.

In his first 18 months, he reinvigorated NBC’s entertainment programming slate with such new hits as “Scrubs” and “Crossing Jordan” as well as the popular “Fear Factor” reality series. He also originated the idea of “supersizing” Must See comedies such as “Friends.”

Prior to his current position, Zucker served as Executive Producer of NBC News’ “Today” since September 1994 and from 1992 to 1993. Under his leadership, “Today” was the nation’s most-watched morning news program for more than six years, with viewership during the 2000-01 season reaching the highest point in the show’s history. Zucker and his team were widely credited for giving “Today” a harder news edge and a new format that appealed to the constantly changing morning news audience.

In addition, Zucker also served as executive producer of NBC’s coverage of several major events of the last decade, including the network’s “Decision 2000” election night broadcast, the 1996 and 2000 political conventions, the 1993 and 1997 presidential inaugurations, the start of the new millennium, the 1996 bombing of Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, the 1991 Russian coup and the Persian Gulf War.

Zucker has held other major positions with NBC News. Prior to assuming his responsibilities for “Today”, he was the executive producer of the NBC newsmagazine “Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric.” Before that, from January 1992 to May 1993, he served as executive producer of “Today” for the first time. He was appointed to that post at the age of 26, which made him the youngest executive producer in the storied history of “Today.” He also served as the executive producer of “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” from February 8 through March 19, 1993.
Zucker joined NBC News as a field producer for “Today” in January 1989. In April 1990, he became Katie Couric’s producer when she was named the show’s national correspondent. He first joined NBC in 1986 as a researcher for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. From 1986 to 1988, he traveled the world, compiling and writing background information that was used by NBC Sports commentators and producers, prior to and during the network’s coverage of the Olympics.

Zucker, a five-time Emmy Award winner, graduated from Harvard College in 1986 with a degree in American history. He served as president of “The Harvard Crimson” from 1985 to 1986. He and his wife, Caryn, have two children, Andrew and Elizabeth. (Ref: http://www.nbc.com/nbc/header/Executive_Bios/zucker_jeffrey.shtml)


120405-herman KEN HERMAN (Class of 1971)

As a young reporter on the small town Lufkin Daily News in Texas he wrote a series of
investigative articles on the death of a Lufkin resident in a marine corps training camp. The articles exposed corrupt recruiting and training practices launching a congressional investigation, resulting in changes in Marine Corps training and recruiting. Herman won the Pulitzer Prize for his paper for meritorious public service in 1977. He was only 24. He served as white house correspondent for the Cox newspaper chain during the administration of George W. Bush. He is currently metro columnist for the Austin American Statesman in Texas.

Read more about it here: Pulitzer Prize came 30 years ago for LDN – The Lufkin News_ News

Lisa Stahl-Sullivan (Class of 1982) – Former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, and a successful model and actress for over two decades. Lisa has appeared on such popular shows and movies as Married with Children, Jerry Macguire, Baywatch, Baywatch Nights, NYPD Blue, Murphy Brown just to name a few. Lisa now runs Sullivan Studios, established in 1996 providing photographic services to the Los Angeles entertainment community. Clients have included Elton John, Prince, Mary J. Blige, The Fugees, Pierce Brosnan, Rod Stewart, Jessica Simpson, and many others. Lisa just completed her fourth year as Freemantlemedia’s exclusive photographer for American Idol, and has also worked on such shows as The Price is Right, Family Feud, Press Your Luck, Celebrity Duets and America’s Got Talent.

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