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On the day he retired from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Professor Tim McGuire issued a challenge to the school’s newest graduates: “Dream big.”
McGuire, who retired Tuesday after 10 years as the Cronkite School’s Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism, was the keynote convocation speaker at ASU Gammage, where 329 students received degrees with 2,000 guests in attendance.
In his address, McGuire, the former longtime editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, told graduates they should not listen to anyone who tells them to play it safe.
“You are on the precipice of a new life. If you wish, you may focus on the prudent and the stable. You may make the secure and safe route your refuge. But, please, please don’t,” he said. “Don’t worry about being sensible. Don’t worry about what others think you ought to do. Don’t be modest in your goals. Don’t hide your passion. Change the world. Take risks and go really big.”
McGuire capped his keynote speech with a trademark football call he often gave in his classrooms. “I am convinced that if you dream big and push to meet those dreams and understand that you, and only you, are responsible and accountable for making a good life, then one day you will be able to stand back and declare, ‘Touchdown!’” he said.
Cronkite Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan said McGuire’s arrival at the Cronkite School helped launch a new era for the school, with a focus on innovation and the future of media. “Our goals as professors are to teach and inspire,” he said. “And no one has done that better than Tim McGuire.”
In all, the Cronkite School graduated 270 bachelor’s degree students, with 203 earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, 61 receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and six earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Journalism. The Cronkite School also graduated five master’s degree students and 53 students who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Steven Garry received a doctoral degree, the fourth awarded by the school.
Student speaker Erica Lang of Overland Park, Kansas, urged graduates to think of their futures as stories of their lives they have yet to write.
“The truth is that our graduation is not the end, but rather the beginning of our journey,” said Lang, who graduated with both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in journalism. “And we each get to decide the path our own story takes.”
Nearly half of the graduating class earned high academic honors. Fifty-four students graduated summa cum laude with grade-point averages of at least 3.8; another 50 graduated magna cum laude with GPAs of 3.6 to 3.79; and 46 graduated cum laude with GPAs of 3.4 to 3.59.
In addition, 22 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.
STUDENT AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Graduate Student
ASU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate
Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Highest Grade Point Average in Journalism
Highest Grade Point Average in Media Studies
Top Innovator Award
Cronkite Spirit Award
Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society