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‘PBS NewsHour’ Anchor Judy Woodruff Urges Cronkite Graduates to Be Bold

May 12, 2015

Judy Woodruff, Cronkite Convocation
"PBS NewsHour" anchor Judy Woodruff addresses more than 250 graduates at the Cronkite School's convocation ceremony at ASU Gammage.

Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and managing editor of the “PBS NewsHour” challenged the newest graduates of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication to embrace the changing media landscape and produce impactful journalism.

Woodruff, a veteran political journalist who is part of the first female co-anchor team on national TV news, was the keynote speaker at the Cronkite School’s spring convocation ceremony Tuesday at ASU Gammage, where 297 students received degrees with more than 1,800 guests in attendance.

In her address, Woodruff explored the evolution of the news business from the days of Walter Cronkite to today, noting there is still great demand for quality in-depth reporting. She cited numerous news operations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the “PBS NewsHour,” that have adapted to the new landscape to produce quality journalism.

Woodruff said there will always be a need for journalists who strive to keep the public informed. She said ASU, “one of the nation’s truly great public universities,” is preparing the next generation of journalists through the Cronkite School.

“The values and especially the standards you learned here at the Cronkite School will serve you well in this new world,” Woodruff said.

The ceremony celebrated Cronkite student Janice Sweeter as the second graduate of the school’s doctoral program, established in 2011. In all, the Cronkite School graduated 269 bachelor’s degree students, two master’s degree students and 25 students who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Student speaker Megan Thompson of Gilbert, Ariz., shared how the Cronkite School helped her discover and cultivate her passion for broadcast journalism. Thompson, who recently accepted a reporting position with the ABC affiliate in Tucson, Ariz., encouraged her fellow graduates to tell the stories that matter.

“My fellow graduates, it’s time to move on from this moment and step into a future that is bigger and brighter than ever before,” she said. “You are about to start writing the best story yet — the story of your life. It has your byline and the direction it goes is all up to you.”

Cronkite Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan said nearly half of the graduating class earned high academic honors. Fifty-five students achieved summa cum laude status with grade-point averages of at least 3.8; another 40 graduated magna cum laude with GPAs of 3.6 to 3.79; and 48 graduated cum laude with GPAs of 3.4 to 3.59.

In addition, 26 students were inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor 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.
“You are a truly remarkable group of young women and men,” Callahan said. “Thank you for your hard work, your passion, your dedication and your unabashed spirit of optimism.”

STUDENT AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Graduate Student
Lauren Loftus

ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate
Jessica Boehm

Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Brittany Bade
Alicia Canales
Dominick DiFurio
Kristen Hwang
Brett Nachman
Jessie Wardarski

Highest Grade Point Average
Stephanie Habib

Moeur Award
Mackenzie Concepcion
Emily Nichols
Domenico Nicosia
Erin Regan
Matthew Seeman

Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society
Michael Bartelt
Jessica Boehm
Andrew Catanzariti
Annika Cline
Mackenzie Concepcion
Caelen Demos
Mariah Ellis
Stephanie Habib
Sepeedeh Hashemian
Kristen Hwang
Amanda Janczak
Tayllor Lillestol
Sierra Loerch
Lauren Loftus
Brett Nachman
Emily Nichols
Domenico Nicosia
Kari Osep
Meiti Prang
Erin Regan
Shannon Scharrer
Matthew Seeman
Janice Sweeter
Kelsey Tardio
Tara Terregino
David Van En

Cronkite Spirit Award
Malcolm Brinkley
Kari Osep

Student Speaker
Megan Thompson