Release date: 9-Mar-05
Contact: Beverly Cox Clark at 404-712-8780 or

Tom Brokaw to Speak at Emory Commencement May 16

Renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw will deliver the keynote address at Emory University's 160th commencement ceremony Monday, May 16, and will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Four other individuals also will be recognized during commencement with honorary degrees: Atlanta developer Tom Cousins, nursing scholar Sue Hegyvary, former Emory Law School dean Ben F. Johnson Jr.; and Oxford University administrator Robin Butler.

"The awarding of these honorary degrees is not only tribute to five extraordinary individuals, but also an example of the breadth of Emory's engagement in the world as we celebrate the class of 2005," says Emory University President James Wagner.

Brokaw anchored the late evening news on Atlanta's WSB-TV in 1965 just prior to joining NBC. During his long career as a reporter and later as anchor of the NBC Nightly News, Brokaw reported breaking news around the world and interviewed a number of global leaders. He also reported on such social issues as race and poverty. He has covered many of the top stories of the past 40 years, from the 1965 civil rights protests in Atlanta to the Watergate scandal and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He retired as anchor of NBC Nightly News in December 2004.

"Having Tom Brokaw as our speaker underscores Emory's longstanding commitment to international understanding," Wagner says. Brokaw's career also attests to the approach of Emory's journalism program, now in its 10th year, which requires students to double major so they will be versed in professional values and goals as well as in the discipline and inquiry techniques of another field, Wagner says. This approach "ensures that our graduates will leave Emory with a breadth of knowledge and a broad and deep sense of curiosity to fulfill the job of journalists who will interpret the world for a general audience."

Brokaw also wrote three popular books on "the greatest generation," those who were born in the 1920s and came of age during the Depression, fought in World War II and went on to build America. A native of South Dakota, Brokaw studied political science and worked as a radio reporter at the University of South Dakota from 1958 to 1962.

For more information on commencement activities and speakers, visit


Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate college of arts and sciences, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. For nearly two decades Emory has been named one of the country's top 25 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its nine schools, the university encompasses The Carter Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, the state's largest and most comprehensive health care system.

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