Maureen Bunyan was born on the island of Aruba, the oldest of three daughters Arthur and Wilhelmina Bunyan. Her parents had moved to the island from their native British Guiana. Ms. Bunyan's father, an electrical engineer at the Standard Oil Company refinery in Aruba, dreamed of taking his family to the United States so that he and his daughters could pursue educational opportunities. That dream came true when Ms. Bunyan was eleven. Her father, sight unseen, managed to get a job at a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Bunyan's left the Aruba sun for America's dairy land. Not long after the family had settled in a rural area of Southeastern Wisconsin, Ms. Bunyan's mother, a nurse, was stricken with cancer.
For three years, she fought the disease, but succumbed to it just a few days before Ms. Bunyan's sixteenth birthday.
Those years and the ones that immediately followed, proved challenging to the Bunyan family, but Mr. Bunyan's dream was not to be deferred. At one point, Ms. Bunyan, her sisters Kathleen and Pamela and their father were all enrolled at local colleges or universities, each studying for undergraduate degrees. Eventually, Ms. Bunyan earned degrees in English and Education, including a Master's Degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Ms. Bunyan began her career in news at The Milwaukee Journal, where she worked as a free-lancer while in college. She began in broadcasting in 1970 at WGBH-TV, the public broadcasting station in Boston. Shortly after, she moved to New York to work at WCBS-TV News and in 1973, joined the then WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV) where she was a lead news anchor and reporter, covering major local, national and international stories.
During her 22 years at WUSA-TV, Ms. Bunyan won a reputation as a clear-thinking, clear-spoken and fair-minded newsperson upon which viewers and listeners could depend. In 1999, Ms. Bunyan joined Washington's ABC-7 News, as a primary news anchor.
Ms. Bunyan has been a leader in her profession and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities in the newsroom. She was a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (1975) and of the International Women's Media Foundation (1990), which serves women journalists in 100 countries.
In recognition of her significant contributions to news broadcasting, Ms. Bunyan was inducted in to the "Hall of Fame" of the Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the "Silver Circle" of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and the Broadcast Pioneers Club of Washington. She has been awarded seven local Emmys and the "Ted Yates Award", given by NATAS to broadcasters who exemplify the best in their profession. In 1990, she was named "Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists. Ms. Bunyan is the recipient of several honorary degrees and has been honored by numerous local and national groups. Named a "Washingtonian of the Year" in 1992, Ms. Bunyan has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations.
Throughout her career and in her personal life, Ms. Bunyan has never forgotten her origins and speaks often to audiences about her experiences as an immigrant.
Copyright © 2001
American Immigration Law Foundation