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‘Face The Nation’ Moderator Encourages Graduates To Be Like Walter Cronkite

May 8, 2018


Margaret Brennan
"Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan of CBS News delivers the keynote address to graduates of ASU's Cronkite School of Journalism. Photo by Marcus Chormicle


Margaret Brennan, moderator of “Face the Nation” and senior foreign affairs correspondent at CBS News, challenged the newest graduates of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to grow the public’s trust of the news media.

Brennan, who currently is the only woman serving as a solo anchor of a major Sunday political affairs show, was the keynote convocation speaker at Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix, where 339 students received degrees with 2,700 guests in attendance.

Citing a Quinnipiac poll in which a majority of Republicans described the news media as the enemy of the people and not an important part of democracy, Brennan encouraged graduates to earn their trust and respect.

“We need you,” she said. “We need all of you to be the great journalists and communicators that you have been training to be. We need all of you to be (Walter) Cronkites.”


In her speech, Brennan provided a range of lessons to help the graduates in their careers, including being tough, but fair in news coverage. Her speech also touched on the news today involving President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Today the president dealt a potentially fatal blow that landmark arms control deal,” she said. “He did that by announcing that he’ll sanction Iran which -- under the deal -- was only supposed to happen as punishment if that country cheated. Today, the White House provided no new evidence to suggest Iran was cheating.”

The Cronkite School graduated 318 bachelor’s degree students, with 192 earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication and 49 earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Journalism. Seventy-seven students received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies.

The Cronkite School also graduated 18 master’s degree students. Ashley Gimbal, Madeleine Liseblad and Kristy Roschke received doctoral degrees.

Student speaker Isabel Greenblatt discussed the evolving media landscape and how the Cronkite School prepares students for a variety of jobs ranging from broadcast journalism to public relations and beyond.

Greenblatt, who said she initially wanted to be a television news producer and later pivoted to social media strategy, encouraged her fellow graduates to challenge the status quo. “We are the future of media,” she said. “It’s up to us to change the culture.”

Nearly a half of the graduating class earned high academic honors. Forty-eight students graduated summa cum laude with grade-point averages of at least 3.8; another 43 graduated magna cum laude with GPAs of 3.6 to 3.79; and 56 graduated cum laude with GPAs of 3.4 to 3.59.

In addition, 26 students were inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honors society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism. The top 10 percent of the graduating class is inducted into the society each semester.

Six students received the ASU Alumni Association’s Moeur Award, which is presented to graduates with the highest academic standing who have completed their course work toward their degree while attending ASU for eight consecutive fall and spring semesters.


Outstanding Graduate Student
Jennifer Miller

ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate
Nicole Gutierrez Montes

Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Alexandra Bice
Christopher Cadeau
Kendra Penningroth
Ellen Pierce
Justin Toscano
Keerthi Vedantam

Highest Grade Point Average in Journalism
Sloane McGowan

Highest Grade Point Average in Media Studies
Dayle Hebert

Top Innovator Award
Alena Sanderson
Skyler Snider

Cronkite Spirit Award
Kristiana Faddoul
Carson Mlnarik

Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society
Alexander Argeros
Michael Baron
Bryce Bozadjian
Delilah Cassidy
Simran Dave
Adriana De Alba
Nicole Dusanek
Kristiana Faddoul
Tyler Fingert
Tynin Fries
Alicia Gonzales
Isabel Greenblatt
Nicole Hernandez
Ellanna Koontz
Madeleine Liseblad
Sydney Maki
Sloane McGowan
Bailey Netsch
Kendra Penningroth
Nicole Praga
Tea Price
Kristy Roschke
Skyler Snider
Madison Stark
Sierra Theobald
Lisa Travis

Moeur Award
Alexander Argeros
Kristiana Faddoul
Isabel Greenblatt
Nicole Hernandez
Sloae McGowan
Madison Stark

Student Speaker
Isabel Greenblatt