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Diamondbacks President Delivers Keynote

December 18, 2008

Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall told the newest graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to dream big—and constantly reassess their goals.

Hall, a 1991 alumnus of the Cronkite School at Arizona State University, was the keynote speaker for the school’s December 20008 convocation held at the Phoenix Convention Center Dec. 18.

Derrick Hall

Seventy-eight students were awarded bachelor’s degrees and eight received master’s degrees during the ceremony, the first held in downtown Phoenix following the Cronkite School’s move to the ASU Downtown Campus earlier this year.

Hall encouraged a combination of idealism and pragmatism as graduates enter the profession.

“Make sure you take time to reassess,” he said. “It’s so important because you have to make sure you’re not going about it the wrong way—you’re not continuing to make the same mistakes.”

Hall said his own experience has taught him that persistence pays off. When he was denied acceptance to Ohio University’s Master of Sports Administration program, Hall said he “crashed” an alumni reception for the program and cornered the director. Not accepting him, he told the director, was a mistake.

“I was admitted into the program,” he said. “It taught me a lesson: Don’t let anybody get in the way; don’t let anything stop you if you truly have a dream and have a goal.”

Hall went on to work for the Dodgers for parts of 12 seasons, beginning with the team's Class A franchise in Vero Beach, Fla., moving up to senior vice president for communications.

He left the Dodgers in 2004 for a senior vice president position with KB Home, a Fortune 500 company, before joining the D-Backs front office in May 2005. He was executive vice president of the club before being named president in October of 2006. Hall was inducted into the Cronkite School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002, and received the ASU Young Achievement Award in 2003.

“If you believe in yourself ... and you believe in that dream, you’re going to be able to achieve it,” Hall told graduates.

Outstanding undergraduate student Brian Indrelunas, who also earned the highest grade point average of the graduating class, was the student speaker for the event. Indrelunas emphasized the importance of keeping pace with new technology—even when it’s uncomfortable.

Young people are not immune from the “inner voice” that urges them to resist trying new things, he said.

“It’s that voice within me that tells me that I should just brush off something like Twitter because it has a funny name and it’s new,” he said. “Or maybe I should disregard the possibility of sending content to mobile phones.

“It’s clear to everyone that our profession is changing rapidly. This journalism school, in particular, is staking its identity on that very fact.”

Michael Seiden, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, said the Cronkite School couldn’t have prepared him better for a media career.

“I’ve received all the tools I need to be successful in the world,” Seiden said. “I don’t think there’s a better school in the country.”

Student award winners for the fall 2008 semester were:

Outstanding Undergraduate Students

Brian Indrelunas

Matthew Pagel

MariaLinda Torres Medina

Highest Grade Point Average

Brian Indrelunas

Outstanding Graduate Student

Nicholas Gerbis

Inductees into Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society

Amy Brooks

Nicole Hadley

Philip Haldiman

Brian Indrelunas

Shanen Lloyd

Natalie Nicol

MariaLinda Torres Medina