Alumni in the Spotlight: Mike Leonard `70

by The Cowl Editor on January 26, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

Photo courtesy of


by Elizabeth Jancsy `18

A&E Staff


It is safe to say once the Civ classes are over and the diploma is handed out, you will still and forever be a Friar. We often hear about the great success of people who have paved the way in different work fields but often forget they were once like us, eating dinner at Ray or checking out a BOP event over the weekend.

It’s empowering to know Providence College has a long list of successful and recognizable names of alumni and that they started out just like us. Mike Leonard ’70, a proud Friar, is no stranger to the spotlight.

Leonard graduated from PC and began his career in journalism. Working on the Today Show for 31 years, Leonard was a feature correspondent and one that was known for his spunky and unique reports. Behind the scenes Leonard was also a producer, working with the production company Picture Show Films. Having a hand in huge networks such as PBS and ESPN, Leonard had his hands on the goldmine of television.

These were only half of the interests that Leonard pursued in his time after Friartown. Taking a break from the world of entertainment, Leonard went on a road trip of a lifetime that turned into a literary exploration. Traveling with his parents and his children, Leonard documented his RV trip across the country. Connecting with his family, reminiscing on the past and the present, Leonard created the novel that would soon be in the homes of millions.

The novel consists of many touching tales of Leonard’s parents and their history, as well as Leonard’s life and his children. This novel soon became a documentary series simiolarly named The Ride of Our Lives. Still containing the magic touch of entertainment, Leonard crafted the show to reflect the novel and its impact it had on him while documenting his journey.

Leonard eventually retired from the Today Show and his life in the journalism field, but like all Friars, he left an impact as a hard working and dedicated man. Being of so much wisdom and passion, Leonard created a career for himself filled with life and adventure, mimicking his personality.

Matt Lauer, one of the most famous journalists of our time, as well as the head anchor on the Today Show, had these words to say about Leonard on his last day on the job on the air, “Your stories…are a microcosm of you. They all have incredible heart, they’re told with kindness, and hope, and modesty. They are understated and yet so powerful, and that is you in a nutshell.”

Representing the true essence of what it is to be a Friar, Leonard touched the lives of many through his journalism and writing. Because of that, he was able to make an impact in the world of entertainment. From class in Feinstein to center stage on a national news station, Leonard has proven that Friartown is geared toward your future, and that this future is bright!