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This Just In: Brian Williams of NBC News Addresses Fordham University Graduates

For the most part, commencement speeches focus on providing words of wisdom to graduates as they prepare to enter the 'real world'. So, who better to speak of the world than someone who makes his living talking about world events? Fordham University will present such a speaker at its 166th commencement on May 21st when Brian Williams, TV news anchor of television's most-watched newscast, addresses the 2011 graduating class.

By Harrison Howe

graduation

A Recognized, and Recognizable, Commencement Speaker

Brian Williams may be one of the most recognized faces in the world. He has been the anchor of the top-ranked 'NBC Nightly News' since 2004. His coverage of the Hurricane Katrina crisis as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has propelled his fame. He has been referred to as 'the Walter Cronkite of the 21st century'.

Before anchoring 'Nightly News', Williams worked at various stations in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He also served as NBC's chief White House correspondent. His experience as the anchor of MSNBC's and CNBC's 'The News with Brian Williams' helped to prepare him for his current position.

Williams' work has garnered him numerous awards, including 11 Edward R. Murrow awards and a dozen Emmys. In 2006, he won the George Foster Peabody Award. Time Magazine has listed him as one of the '100 Most Influential People in the World'.

Fordham Podium No Stranger to Well-Known Speakers

Fordham University, founded in 1841 and located in New York City, is a university 'in the Jesuit tradition'. It enrolls more than 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is among the top 60 universities in the nation. It has drawn many notable commencement speakers in the past, including Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, comedian Bill Cosby, actor Alan Alda and author Mary Higgins Clark.

Williams will be following in the footsteps of fellow 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Tom Brokaw, who delivered Fordham's commencement speech in 2009. In addition to Brokaw, other broadcasters or news show hosts who have appeared as Fordham commencement speakers include Ted Koppel ('ABC Nightline', 2003), Tim Russert (NBC's 'Meet the Press', 2004), Chris Matthews (MSNBC's 'Hardball', 2006) and Charlie Rose (2008).

'I cannot think of a speaker better suited to address Fordham's graduating class as they prepare to make their way out into a tumultuous world,' said Fordham president Reverend Joseph M. McShane. Williams will also receive an honorary doctorate at the ceremony.

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