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WCSU 2016 – World-class photographer, WCSU alumnus to speak

alumnus Fred WatkinsDANBURY, CONN. — Award-winning photographer and Western Connecticut State University alumnus Fred Watkins will discuss his career in “A Photographic Walk through History” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall, on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The event is free and open to the public.

Watkins began his career in photography more than 25 years ago in the Time-Life photo lab in New York City. Through the decades, Watkins has worked for Time, Life and People magazines, ABC, ESPN, MCI, Pfizer, Miller Brewing Company, General Motors, Fox News and many other Fortune 500 companies.

Some of his most notable work includes photos of celebrities and famous athletes such as Muhammed Ali, Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey. Watkins also has an extensive portfolio of work documenting political leaders and state dignitaries including Jesse Jackson, President Barack Obama, Former President Bill Clinton and Former President George H. W. Bush.

According to his website, Watkins’ most honored accomplishment was to document Nelson Mandela’s first tour of the United States after being released from prison in 1990.

In an interview, Watkins attributed much of his success to the education he received at WCSU, noting that almost everything he learned about photojournalism can be traced back to his work with The Echo, WCSU’s student-run newspaper.

“The Echo adviser, Professor Arnold Brackman, was the person who taught me how to take a good picture,” Watkins said. “I have a lot of respect and appreciation for him and the way he critiqued my work.”

Watkins still works as a freelance photographer for ABC on various reality TV shows, news programs and movies. He recently did an exclusive photoshoot for “Good Morning America” featuring Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his family in their private penthouse suite at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. 

“I feel honored and privileged to be able to come back to WCSU,” Watkins said of his Nov. 15 talk. “I always get asked how I got started, and I always say that I really got the meat and potatoes of my learning from WCSU.

“The college gave me the opportunity to use the darkroom anytime I wanted, and they stressed the fact of always having your camera with you. I use this today when I’m with heads of state,” Watkins said.

WCSU’s Chief Diversity Officer and Interim Associate Vice President for Multicultural Affairs Daryle Dennis said he is “proud and enthusiastic to bring Fred — a friend, classmate and an alumnus — back to WCSU.

“Sharing his photojournalism experience covering some of the world’s most notable people, places and events will be an exciting evening for all to enjoy,” Dennis said.

Despite all his awards, famous photographs and accolades, Watkins said he still keeps a special shelf in his house dedicated to the work he did at WCSU, with issues of The Echo dating back as far as 1977.

“I can’t thank WCSU enough,” Watkins said. “I’m proud to say I am an alumnus.”

For more information, contact Dennis at dennisd@wcsu.edu.



Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.