John Quiñones

Emmy-winning ABC News Veteran,
Creator and Host of What Would You Do?

Monday, November 9, 2020 · 6 p.m. CT

John Quiñones smiling on a TV news set

Don’t talk to the movers and shakers; talk to the moved and shaken.

Advice received as a young reporter
from ABC anchor Peter Jennings


Monday, November 9, 2020
6 p.m. via YouTube Livestream

Moderated by DaLyah Jones

About John Quiñones

Combining a moving life story, an exceptional career, incomparable insights, and a powerful presence, John Quiñones has emerged as one of the most inspiring keynotes in the speaking world today. His moving presentations focus on his odds-defying journey, celebrate the life-changing power of education, champion the Latino American Dream, and provide thought-provoking insights into human nature and ethical behavior.

A lifetime of “never taking no for an answer” took Quiñones from migrant farm work and poverty to more than 30 years at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime. Along the way, he broke through barriers, won the highest accolades, and became a role model for many.

Known for truly connecting with audiences and leaving them uplifted and inspired, Quiñones delivers a powerful message of believing in one’s self, never giving up, and always, always doing the right thing. As host and creator of What Would You Do?, the highly-rated, hidden camera ethical dilemma newsmagazine now in its 14th season, Quiñones has literally become “the face of doing the right thing” to millions of fans. It’s a role that he has enthusiastically embraced off camera, with a popular book and keynote presentations that challenge both business and general audiences to examine the What Would You Do? moments we face every day. This work and his many achievements were recently recognized with honorary Doctorate degrees from Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and Utah Valley University. 

Career Highlights

  • George Foster Peabody Award, 1999, ABC News
  • ALMA Award from the National Council of La Raza
  • Gabriel Award
  • 7-time Emmy Award winner
  • World Hunger Media Award and a citation from the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award


  • Started his higher education path at Texas State University.
  • Bachelor's degree in speech communication from St. Mary's University in San Antonio
  • Master's degree from Columbia University School of Journalism

Event Overview

The LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series will present a moderated conversation with John Quiñones, an alumnus of the Upward Bound program, about his experiences with Upward Bound and his own dynamic life story. On Monday, November 9, 2020, Texas State University will celebrate the first day of both Diversity Week and First-Gen Week, offering an exceptional moment to reflect on both the 55th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the paths of opportunity that higher education provides — President Johnson, Texas State's most distinguished alumnus, signed the HEA on this campus in 1965.

The specific focus of the event will be Texas State's 2020-2021 Common Experience theme of Dynamics — particularly motivating forces for growth, change, inspiration, and action — spotlighting LBJ’s legacy in education, especially TRIO/Upward Bound programs and the dynamics involved in achieving dreams.

About the Moderator

DaLyah Jones is a first-generation Texas State alumna and staff writer for The Texas Observer. Her work has also been published in Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, and NBC News. She is a former All Things Considered producer and reporter for Austin’s NPR Station, KUT 90.5. While at Texas State, she worked at KTSW, our student-run, noncommercial radio station.


All events in the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series are presented at no cost to Texas State students, faculty, staff, alumni, or community members. Funding for speakers comes from the LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment, established in 1982. This event was co-sponsored by Texas State's TRIO Programs and the Common Experience.