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RENEE CHENAULT-FATTAH L'82
BY SALLY FRIEDMAN
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Made For TV: Profiles
Every weekday evening, facing the unrelenting eye of the TV camera, is a Penn Law graduate who tells hundreds of thousands of Delaware Valley residents about their world. Renee Chenault-Fattah, news anchor at WCAU-TV, the Philadelphia affiliate of NBC, is so familiar to area viewers that many think of her as family. And on camera as a broadcast journalist is exactly where Chenault Fattah wants to be after a detour from her original life plan.

A political science graduate of Johns Hopkins, Chenault-Fattah thought she knew where she was heading. "Ours was the only black family in Littleton, Colorado, and the civil rights movement was a defining time for us," says Chenault-Fattah. "It seemed clear that the way you could make a difference in the lives of the disenfranchised was through law. So from the time I was a child, I wanted to be a lawyer."

The choice of a law school wasn't quite so clear. "I had set my sights on Harvard. I still applied to Columbia, Berkeley and Penn, and I got in everywhere except Harvard, which wait-listed me. So foolishly, I turned down everyone else, waiting for Harvard to come to its senses..."

Harvard did no such thing, and at the last minute, humbled and clearly chastened by the experience, Chenault-Fattah came back to Penn Law as supplicant, and was fortunately admitted at the last minute. "It was," she says, "one of the best things that's ever happened to me."
 
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