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Cord Jefferson ’04

Writer, Director

Majors: {{, Sociology}}

As a biracial youth who grew up in a mostly white suburb of Tucson, Arizona, Cord looked to sociology to help make sense of the world. He came to William & Mary through a family connection — his father, Wilson C. “Jeff ” Jefferson Jr. J.D. ’72, was the second Black graduate of W&M Law School. As a student, Cord delved into topics of women’s history, immigration, criminal justice and the politics of being Black in America. He continued exploring those themes as a journalist in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. 

He got a big break in 2013 when MSNBC’s All In host, Chris Hayes, invited him on the show after reading a column Cord had written as West Coast editor of Gawker. That appearance opened the door to writing for TV shows such as Master of None, The Good Place, Station Eleven and the HBO series Watchmen, for which he won an Emmy Award in 2020. In 2022, The Yale Review published his first piece of short fiction, The Front House, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Cord also made his directorial debut with an upcoming feature film based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett. He is paying it forward through the Susan M. Haas Fellowship — founded in honor of his late mother — to help unemployed or underemployed journalists break into television.

Learn more about Cord
  • Read his profile in the W&M Alumni Magazine.
  • Find out how he and Phillip Sun ’04 are promoting diversity through their platforms in the entertainment industry.
  • Watch him in the webinar “Diverse Voices in Hollywood” from March 2021, hosted by the W&M Alumni Association, the W&M Global Film Festival, University Advancement and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.