This week, Fordham announced that celebrated broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw will be the class of 2009’s commencement speaker. Seniors said that it is an honor to have Brokaw speak and that they respect his accomplishments—but that they were sort of hoping for Steven Colbert.
Will Neves, FCLC ’09, called Brokaw “reputable” and said that he is a “good choice.” However, he also said, “I would rather have had Steven Colbert…I would rather have humor than seriousness considering the economy is looking so bleak.”
Brokaw anchored NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw for 21 years, according to MSNBC.com. He now serves as a special correspondent for NBC. He also temporarily served as moderator for Meet the Press after the death of Tim Russert. The awards he has received include 12 Emmys, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement award.
Sarah Devine, FCLC ’09, said she admires Brokaw and is “really excited” that he is speaking at commencement. She said, “As a journalist and writer he’s covered so many historical events and interviewed fascinating people. [Brokaw] is someone who has seen so much of the world and has had such a wide range of experiences… I think he’s in a great position to be able to give our class valuable advice to take with us as we leave Fordham.”
Brokaw was the first American journalist to report that the war with Iraq had begun. He has been recognized for his reports on the war on terrorism, illegal immigration, religion in America, affirmative action in education, and race and poverty, according to MSNBC.com.
Katie Fenton, FCLC ’09, said that she is “kind of torn” about Brokaw speaking at commencement. She mentioned the Facebook petition that circulated among Fordham students earlier this year in an effort to have Steven Colbert speak at commencement. “[Brokaw] is one of the most important journalists of our time…to have him come to our school is an honor and I’m sure his speech will be thoughtful and inspiring. However, at the same time I kind of wish that Fordham would have chosen someone maybe more relatable to us students. I guess that Steve Colbert petition got my hopes up a little bit. But I was really hoping for Tina Fey.”
Devine said, “[Brokaw is] a very charismatic and incredibly accomplished man, so I’m really looking forward to listening to him speak at graduation.”