Walter Thompson-Hernández ’09 | University of Portland

Walter Thompson-Hernández ’09

Walter Thompson-HernándezReporter, The New York Times and Author

Major: Political Science

“I’ve always had deep questions about who I am, particularly as a multiracial person.

After playing professional basketball internationally and earning a master’s degree in Latin American studies at Stanford, I realized I wanted to tell stories using multimedia. I bought a camera in Mexico with my first paycheck and started taking photos and asking people questions. My degree from UP helped me navigate the post-grad world and gave me a solid understanding of culture and society.

I’m part of a team with the Times called ‘Surfacing,’ which explores subcultures around the world using words, photos, and video. I’m really big on ensuring historically marginalized voices are represented by a national media company. The work that I do is deeply connected to who I am. Currently, I’m writing a book for adults and one for children about a group of friends from Compton, CA known as the Compton Cowboys due out in 2020. 

Playing basketball at UP took much of my time. But I grew quite fond of my teammates and the staff involved with the team. They were so helpful. I’ve never forgotten how they made me feel. I especially remember my academic advisor who also was a professor of history. I still refer back to the things I learned in her class.

The size of campus really fostered an intimate feeling of community. Many informative and important conversations took place in the Pilot House or the Commons while sharing a meal with friends from around the U.S. and the world.”

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