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The president of CBS News encouraged the newest graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to stay true to the values embodied by the school’s namesake as they embark on their journalism careers.
David Rhodes told the 196 Cronkite graduates and more than 1,600 guests at Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University Friday that Cronkite’s values are still highly relevant for today’s journalists.
“Cronkite represented certainty in an uncertain world, trust in an untrusting world,” Rhodes said. “Tonight I want to tell you that those values, our values, aren’t antique. They’re timeless.”
Rhodes said that a generation of journalists defined by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr. is giving way to one defined by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“All of us at CBS hope that Walter Cronkite’s memory will continue to inspire this new generation and generations of communicators to come,” he said.
Rhodes also urged the graduates to challenge themselves to make a significant impact as journalists.
“(I) encourage you to follow what you’ve learned here, but get outside your comfort zone and do something really meaningful,” he said. “Get noticed. Be different.”
Student speaker Isaac Easley, a graduate of Peoria High School in Peoria, Ariz., encouraged his fellow graduates to "always remember to be the best you that you can be."
Easley also spoke about the special sense of community at the Cronkite School.
“This school teaches us how to be good reporters, but more importantly, (it) teaches us how to be greater people," he said. “It’s not about awards or recognition,” he added. “It’s the love we have for one another and for this business that makes us the best.”
In the spring class of graduates, 30 students achieved summa cum laude status (with a grade point average of at least 3.8); another 27 graduated magna cum laude (3.6 to 3.79 GPA); and 45 graduated with cum laude honors (3.4 to 3.59 GPA). Three students were recognized with Moeur Awards for obtaining a grade point average of 4.0 in eight or fewer consecutive semesters.
In addition, 18 students were inducted into the Kappa Tau Alpha society, a national college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism. Only the top 10 percent of the graduating class is inducted into the society each semester.
Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan praised the graduates for their accomplishments and their commitment to journalism.
“You are smart, you are passionate, you are dedicated and you possess an energy and spirit that inspires others,” Callahan said. “In short, Walter would be incredibly proud of you.”
STUDENT AWARD WINNERS:
Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Gardenia Lamadrid Coleman
Outstanding Graduate Student
Highest Grade Point Average (Undergraduate)
ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate
Students attained a 4.0 GPA in eight or fewer consecutive semesters.
Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society
Students have GPAs that put them in the top 10 percent of the graduating class.
Gardenia Lamadrid Coleman
Jessica Von Schell