ESPN reporter and UGA alumna Maria Taylor will deliver the University of Georgia spring undergraduate commencement address at 7 p.m. May 8 at Sanford Stadium.
Since graduating from UGA in 2009 with a degree in broadcast news from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Taylor has risen through the ranks of sports journalism and is now in her seventh season as an analyst, host and reporter for ESPN. She returned to the university to pursue her Master of Business Administration, which she completed in May 2013.
A native of Alpharetta, Taylor played collegiate volleyball and basketball for UGA. She was named to the All-SEC volleyball team three times and was also a member of the USA A2 National Volleyball team.
Prior to 2012, Taylor was a reporter and host for IMG College (now Learfield IMB College) at the University of Georgia for three years. She also appeared on various studio shows including “Dawg Report,” “SEC Men’s Basketball Tonight” and “SportsNite.”
In 2013, she was the sideline reporter on ESPN2’s weekly Saturday night prime-time college football telecast and covered the Orange Bowl for the second year. She also served as an analyst on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show, NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview Show, and ESPN’s coverage of both the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and Women’s Volleyball National Championship for the previous two years.
Taylor became the first African American female to co-host College GameDay Built by The Home Depot in 2017. She was also tapped as the sideline reporter for ABC’s “Saturday Night Football.” She patrolled the sidelines for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 College Football Playoff and National Championship games. She previously served as the first female host of the SEC Network’s traveling college football show, “SEC Nation.” Prior to her role on “SEC Nation,” she helped launch the SEC Network as one of three studio hosts and worked as the SEC Primetime Saturday Night college football reporter.
Taylor also co-founded Winning Edge Leadership Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to improving networking opportunities and providing training and professional development to people of color and women pursuing careers in the sports industry. Since 2015, the academy has helped more than 40 students to become the next generation of leaders in sports business.
Tickets are not required for the ceremony. The university’s Clear Bag Policy will be in effect. For more information on UGA’s Commencement ceremonies, visit https://commencement.uga.edu.