West Philly native and ‘Abbott Elementary’ star Quinta Brunson honored with Temple’s Klein Excellence in Media Award – WHYY

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Actress, comedian, producer, writer and proud West Philly native Quinta Brunson is known for making waves in Hollywood. As she’s shattered glass ceilings, she has also shined a light on issues affecting Philadelphia youth and local schools.

Brunson first won an Emmy as a writer on her hit show “Abbott Elementary.” This year, she made history when she won her second Emmy, becoming the first Black woman to win for best comedic actress in more than 40 years.

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The ensemble sitcom, which Brunson created, writes and stars in, is a comedic portrayal of a group of teachers at a fictitious publc school in Philadelphia. The teachers, despite a shameful lack of resources, are dedicated to ensuring their students succeed.

“Abbott Elementary” has garnered millions of viewers and more than a dozen awards and nominations.

On Tuesday, Brunson added another award to her long list of accolades. Temple University honored Brunson as the recipient of the 2024 Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award.

Brunson, surrounded by her parents and former Temple classmates, joked about typically being shooed along after accepting an award.

“This sounds really obnoxious when I say this. I don’t mean it, but typically when I accept an award,” Brunson said to laughter from the crowd, “they rush you off the stage and they don’t let you thank your family. I want to take this time to thank the people at this lovely table with me.”

“Being myself is very important to who I am now,” said Brunson. “I’m just so grateful to be able to pay it forward to them.”

Brunson attended Klein College and got her start in comedic acting on Temple University Television’s first student-produced comedy-variety show, “Temple Smash,” before leaving to pursue her career in California.

“We are thrilled to welcome Quinta back to her hometown and to Temple,” said Klein College Dean David Boardman. “She is not only a talented entertainer and media figure, she is a powerful advocate for public education.”

WHYY’s Cherri Gregg holds her award after being inducted into the Klein College Hall of Fame. She is surrounded by her ''Studio 2'' colleagues (from left) Avi Wolfman-Aren’t, Debbie Bilder and Andreas Copes.
WHYY’s Cherri Gregg holds her award after being inducted into the Klein College Hall of Fame. She is surrounded by her ”Studio 2” colleagues (from left) Avi Wolfman-Aren’t, Debbie Bilder and Andreas Copes. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The award, inspired by the legacy of media educator and broadcast pioneer Lew Klein, is presented annually to a media luminary whose work inspires students. Past recipients have included Philly native and Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.

The Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards ceremony honors the professional achievements of seven prominent alumni from the media and communication industries. This year’s Alumni in the Media honorees included WHYY’s Cherri Gregg, an afternoon drive host/news anchor for WHYY-FM and co-host of “Studio 2.”

On Wednesday, Brunson will also be the keynote speaker at Temple University’s graduation ceremony, where she will receive an honorary degree.

Brunson told the crowd it is a moment her mother, a former educator, has been waiting for.

“I will finally be fulfilling my mother’s dream of walking across the stage and getting my degree,” Brunson joked.

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