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University of Iowa News Release


April 28, 2010

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Brokaw to give keynote address at UI CLAS commencement ceremony May 15

brokawWorld-famous television journalist and author Tom Brokaw will give the keynote address titled “Failure is an Option” at the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 15, in the UI Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Brokaw is one of three dignitaries attending the CLAS commencement ceremony who will be awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. The other recipients are Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and former UI women’s head basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Brokaw began his college education at the UI (1958-59) and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a major in political science. He began working for NBC within four years of his college graduation and remained there for his entire professional career, receiving many of the highest honors in his profession, including the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award and the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Brokaw is an influential and iconic figure in broadcast journalism, familiar to hundreds of millions of television viewers. During his four-decade career, he served as anchor of the "Today Show" from 1976 to 1981 and anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" from 1983 to 2004.

Most recently, Brokaw served as interim moderator of NBC's top-rated Sunday morning public affairs program, “Meet the Press,” from June 2008 until December 2008, after the untimely death of Tim Russert.

Brokaw reported on numerous historic events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, and the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He continues to produce documentaries on issues such as the war in Iraq, undocumented immigrants, religion in the United States, and race and poverty. In the past decade, he has become a widely read author of contemporary history books, including "The Greatest Generation" (1998), which depicts Americans who came of age during the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and built post-war America.

Seats are not reserved and tickets are not necessary for admission to the CLAS commencement ceremony. However, UI officials advise those wishing to attend to arrive early. This will allow for ample time to park, enter the arena and find available seating since the arena is expected to fill up quickly because of Brokaw’s appearance.

Doors will open at 8 a.m., one hour before the ceremony begins. Because of safety concerns, guests are not allowed to bring in large bags or backpacks. Also, security officials reserve the right to inspect purses or camera bags.

In the event of major breaking world news, there is the possibility that Brokaw will need to postpone his trip to the UI. If this occurs, information will be posted at the UI Home Page under featured news and events.

The CLAS commencement ceremony, including Brokaw’s full remarks, will be videotaped by UI Television for broadcast at later dates. Video of the event will also be available for viewing online by May 17. To see when the CLAS and other commencement ceremonies will air, visit Broadcast times will be posted in the near future.

Instructions for ordering a DVD copy of any previous commencement ceremony can also be found on the UITV website at

Complete information about UI commencements can be found on the UI Commencements website at

For more information, or for visitors with special needs who want to arrange for parking near Carver Hawkeye Arena, call 319-335-0296 or Graduation Analysis at 319-335-0228 by May 4.

NOTE TO EDITORS/REPORTERS: Members of the media may interview Brokaw directly following CLAS commencement ceremonies, tentatively from noon to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, in the Big Ten Room at Carver Hawkeye Arena, located on the third floor. Reporters, photographer and videographers should enter through the west exit doors facing Ronald McDonald House.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,