CHICAGO (WLS) -- Emmy Award winning journalist, Theresa Gutierrez has made the decision to retire after 42 years at ABC 7 Chicago. Her last day at the station will be October 31. Gutierrez has had an integral role at ABC 7 since she started at the station as a production assistant in 1972. During her tenure, she has held myriad positions including producer and host of several important locally produced public affairs talk shows. She's been a general assignment reporter for ABC 7 Eyewitness News since 1986. Gutierrez began her on-air career at ABC 7 Chicago in 1973.
In addition to her current reporting duties, Gutierrez serves as host of "The N-Beat," a series of locally produced award-winning specials featuring prominent Hispanics who are making positive strides in the community.
Gutierrez was one of the first Hispanic women to break into television journalism. Gutierrez along with Barbara Walters, Connie Chung, Christiane Amanpour, and Jane Pauley were featured on the cover of the educational book, Women Who Broke Barriers: The New Face of TV News. The book was distributed to schools throughout the world. She was also featured in a book produced by the Museum of Broadcast Communications entitled Chicago Television.
According to John Idler, President and General Manager, "The word trailblazer defines Theresa Gutierrez. She broke ground in Chicago television as one of the first Hispanic woman to serve in both a producer and on-air role. She brought a tremendous amount of passion to her work and a commitment to the community that has never wavered in more than four decades. We thank Theresa for her countless contributions and wish her nothing but the best."
Jennifer Graves, Vice President and News Director said, "Theresa Gutierrez has made a lasting impression on our newsroom and our city. Her talent, versatility, and work ethic led to success in every job she's tackled, from producer to host to general assignment reporter. In addition to being a great reporter, Theresa is a true role model who is respected and admired in the community. We thank Theresa for a remarkable 42-year career."
"My career at ABC 7 has provided me with so many enriching experiences throughout the years with never a dull moment. It has been both a privilege and an honor to be invited into viewers' homes on a regular basis. I want to thank my viewers and my colleagues for giving my life so many meaningful and fulfilling moments," said Theresa Gutierrez.
For 25 years, Gutierrez was the host and the producer of a number of television talk shows including "The Feminine Franchise," a feminist program dealing with topics of concern to women, "Weekend Edition," "Weekend," and "Sunday in Chicago with Theresa Gutierrez."
Concurrent with her duties at ABC 7, in January 1973, Gutierrez became the moderator of "Ms. Understood," a show on WLS Radio, which dealt with women's issues. In April 1973, she became moderator of "Hispano," on WLS Radio, focusing on social and economic issues in the Chicago Hispanic community.
Gutierrez continues to add awards and accomplishments to an already lengthy list of honors she has received over the years. Most recently, she received a national award from the Hispanic Public Relations Association as the "2013 Media Professional of the Year." Her other honors include the Anti-Defamation League's "Women of Achievement Award" for her work to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice; the Glamour Magazine "Tesoro Award"; Northeastern Illinois University President's "Meritorious Award"; Robert Morris College Alumni Association Award for her contribution to higher education; the Latino Coalition on the Media "Triunfo Achievement Award"; the "Sor Juana Lifetime Award," given by the Mexican Fine Arts Museum; the "Woman of the Year Award", from the Indiana Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; as well as numerous awards for her work with children and women.
In 1999, Gutierrez was recognized by Today's Chicago Woman Magazine as one of the 100 Women "Making A Difference." In addition, Hispanic USA Magazine selected Gutierrez as one of six outstanding broadcasters in the country. Gutierrez is actively involved in the community serving on the Boards of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program; Access Living; On Our Own, Hear Our Cries, an organization dealing with victims of domestic violence; the Vernon Jarrett Educational Foundation; and Kids International Surgical Services (K.I.S.S.). In 1999, K.I.S.S. raised $48,000 to bring Baby Santiago from Mexico to have brain surgery, which was successful. Gutierrez was recently named "Woman of the Year" by the Anti-Defamation League and was inducted into the National Television Academy Silver Circle Hall of Fame for her years of contribution to television. Gutierrez will also be featured in a book called "Feminists Who Changed the Face of America."
Gutierrez received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She resides in the Chicago area.
Theresa Gutierrez to retire from ABC7 after 42 years