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Ex-CNN Anchor Aaron Brown to Be Rhodes Chair at Arizona State

May 15, 2006

Ex-CNN Anchor Aaron BrownFormer CNN anchor Aaron Brown will be the John J. Rhodes Chair next year at Arizona State University’s acclaimed Barrett Honors College.

Brown will serve as the Rhodes Chair in Public Policy and American Institutions in the Spring 2007 semester. The Rhodes Chair was created in honor of the former Arizona congressman who served 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, including seven years as House minority leader.

Brown served as news anchor of CNN’s flagship show, NewsNight, from 2001 to 2005, covering stories from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to the 2004 presidential elections and the Iraq War.

“We are delighted to have Aaron Brown accept our offer to come to ASU and interact with our faculty and students as the Rhodes Chair,” said Mark Jacobs, dean of the Barrett Honors College. “The press, both print and broadcast, is an American institution that could not be more important to a democratic society, and we are privileged to have such a renowned and respected journalist on our campus for a semester.”

Brown will be the ninth Rhodes Chair, which is “dedicated to deepening theoretical and practical understanding of the nature and future of a democratic society.” Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was the first Rhodes Chair in 1998. Others include Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jonathan Weiner.

Brown will teach a course on news media issues, deliver a major speech on the Tempe campus and be part of the faculty at both ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Barrett Honors College.

“This is both a wonderful honor and very exciting,” Brown said. “Both the Cronkite School and the Barrett Honors College are great places to exchange ideas about issues I care deeply about. It will also be a wonderful opportunity to work with a terrific faculty doing wonderful work. I am especially excited to learn from them.”

The Barrett Honors College is home to more than 500 National Merit Scholars and was named the nation’s top honors program last year by Reader’s Digest.

The Cronkite School, named in honor of longtime CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite in 1984, this year finished second in the Hearst intercollegiate journalism competition - often referred to as the Pulitzers of college journalism - for the second consecutive year.

Speaking from his New York offices, Cronkite applauded the announcement.

“I am thrilled at the news that Aaron Brown, who distinguished himself as an able journalist in his four years on CNN, will be the John J. Rhodes Chair at Arizona State University next year,” Cronkite said. “I’ve long admired Aaron’s work.”

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan said: “Aaron Brown has been a news leader for many years, practicing the kind of high-quality, thoughtful and meaningful journalism that we want all of our students to learn. Our students will benefit enormously from his teaching and mentoring.”