Steve Capus accepted an invitation from Dean Chris Callahan to speak at the Spring 2010 graduation after visiting the school this past fall while attending the annual Cronkite Luncheon in which Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, was awarded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.
In the past, Walter Cronkite personally chose the keynote speakers, but now the Dean selects and asks the speakers, said Kelli Solomkin, the director of special events at the Cronkite School.
“We try and choose speakers who will have a positive influence on the students,” Solomkin said.
Capus has been president of NBC News since 2005, according to NBC’s Web site. Capus has worked in the broadcast industry for over 20 years and has received many prestigious Journalism awards, such as six Edward R. Murrow Awards, four Emmy Awards and six National Headliner Awards.
A couple prominent keynote speakers at the Cronkite school’s convocation ceremonies in the past include Derek Hall, President of the Arizona Diamond Backs for Fall 2008, and Catherine Anaya, the CBS 5 News anchor in Phoenix for Spring 2009.
Cronkite school Associate Dean Kristen Gilger said she thinks Capus will be a great speaker.
“His experience is very interesting,” Gilger said. “He has been in broadcasting and has really helped the broadcasting industry on a national level.”
Gilger noted that when he visited the school last semester, Capus took the time to critique student work and give feedback. She also said Capus was very impressed with the Cronkite facility, programs and students.
Gilger said she feels good about having Capus back after the genuine connection he made with the students during his visit and because of the interesting perspective he offers about what is going on in the journalism industry.
Graduating Journalism student, Maxine Park said she feels similar about Capus as the keynote speaker.
“I am excited to hear him speak,” she said. “It will be great to have him address our class and address issues going on in the industry.”
Park, who was chosen as the undergraduate student speaker for the graduation ceremony, said she is looking forward to leaving her fellow classmates with a final message before everybody goes their separate ways.
“I hope to send the senior class off with the message that we really can do anything we want to do if we put our minds to it,” Park said. “It is such a tumultuous time in the industry right now, but I am excited and ready to go out there and be a part of the change.”
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