Legendary broadcast journalist and former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw will deliver the College of William and Mary Commencement Address on May 17, University Relations announced this morning.
“It’s hard to imagine anyone who has made a more lasting contribution to broadcast journalism during the last generation than Tom Brokaw, or anyone who has done more to capture in prose the tumultuous middle decades of the twentieth century,” College President Taylor Reveley said in a press release. “We look forward to his role at Commencement.”
Brokaw began his career at NBC in 1966 and anchored the “Today Show” from 1971 to 1981. Two years later he stepped up to serve as anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” a position he retained until 2004.
He was the first American news anchor to report on the war in Iraq, the first to secure a one-on-one interview with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and the only anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall fell. He also served as interim moderator for NBC’s “Meet the Press” in the months following Tim Russert’s death in 2008.
He has since worked as a writer for several publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time, The New Yorker and others. In addition to his work as a writer, he has served as a documentarian focusing on worldwide issues.
For his Commencement address, Brokaw will receive a doctor of humane letters honorary degree. Philanthropist and real estate developer Sherman Cohen, who briefly attended the College and donated $6 million last semester to help fund the new Career Center, will also receive an honorary doctorate.
Actress Linda Lavin ’59, who has appeared on Broadway and also in television shows including “The O.C,” “The Sopranos” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” will receive an honorary doctorate of arts.
College Chancellor and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will offer opening remarks at the Commencement ceremony in William and Mary Hall.