Rhode Island native and talk show host, Meredith Vieira, recently accepted the invitation to join the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media Executive Advisory Board.

URI students had the chance to visit the Meredith Vieira show last semester on November 11 and again this semester on March 2. Adam Roth, interim director of the Harrington School, said that during their visit, students not only participated in the audience but also had the chance to talk with Vieira and her executive producer after the show. The executive producer gave a presentation about what it takes to become an intern and how to “get your foot in the door” at NBC Universal, Roth said. He added that although the audience left, URI students received a great privilege in staying after the show to meet and take pictures with Vieira.

After the taping in March, Roth extended an invitation to Vieira to join the Harrington School board.

“I told her that because of her strong connections to Rhode Island and tremendous success as a journalist, reporter, talk show host and game show host, she would be a great fit to our prestigious board,” Roth said.

Roth said the Harrington School’s Executive Advisory Board includes alumni like CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Correspondent John King and approximately 45 other prestigious executives and professionals at notable organizations, both around the country and internationally.  He said that honorary members have all the same rights and privileges that a regular board member would have, and although he doesn’t necessarily expect Vieira to attend every single board meeting, he certainly encourages her to and hopes that she would want to.

Even though Vieira is not a URI alumna, she has a lot of Rhode Island connections. She was born in Rhode Island, has family in the state and has family members that graduated from URI. Roth said Vieira recently sent the university a picture of herself wearing a Harrington School hat and a video promoting the university, which has been publicized online. He believes that having Vieira on the board will help inspire journalism and communication studies students at the university.

“They [students] get a sense of what’s possible for them with a degree from the university,” Roth said. “You can’t get more famous than Christiane [Amanpour] when it comes to international journalism, and same thing goes with Vieira. She is a role model and inspiration to our students.” He added that students also had the chance to see how much it takes to produce TV programming, “which is an enormous undertaking and huge surprise to them.”

In November, 40 students visited Vieira’s show and in March, 30 students had the opportunity to attend. Roth said that Vieira loves that students have the chance to see her show, and he is happy with the decision to have her on the Harrington School board.

Although Vieira’s show is cancelled as of May, students were recorded on live TV and have the opportunity to view all of the tapings online based on which days the segments aired.

Check out the videos here.