April 5, 2007

Convocation Speaker Confirmed

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CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien will be this year’s Convocation speaker, multiple sources have confirmed with The Sun.
O’Brien has anchored CNN’s flagship morning program American Morning since July 2003, along with co-anchor Miles O’Brien (no relation). Prior to joining CNN, she anchored NBC News’ Weekend Today beginning in July 1999, where she covered stories such as John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash and school shootings in Colorado and Oregon.
As anchor for CNN, O’Brien reported on the impact of Hurricane Katrina, and the London terrorism attacks in July 2005. In fall 2004, she anchored coverage of the burial of Yasser Arafat and later that year traveled to Southeast Asia to cover the tsunami disaster.
CNN’s Hurricane Katrina coverage earned a George Foster Peabody award, and its tsunami coverage earned an Alfred I. duPont award. This year, the NAACP gave O’Brien its President’s Award. In 2001, People Magazine named O’Brien one of its “50 Most Beautiful” people of the year. In 2006, O’Brien was given the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award from the National Association of Minorities in Cable.
She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. O’Brien is a graduate of Harvard University.
Senior Convocation will be at noon on May 26, the weekend of Commencement, and will take place in Schoellkopf Stadium. In addition to O’Brien’s address, Cornell President David J. Skorton and Edvard Gumbs ’07, senior class president, will speak at Convocation. The event is open to graduating students and their families only. The Class of 2007 will also present its class gift to the University at the event.
The Convocation Committee will be officially announcing the speaker today at 4:45 p.m. in a Student Assembly meeting in the Straight Memorial Hall.
Previous Convocation speakers included Martin Luther King III, Gen. Wesley Clark and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

  • who is this?

    We go from Bill Clinton (my freshman year) to Soleded O’brien? Are you kidding me? It’s effing pathetic. At least we’ll get a big name that everyone will enjoy for Slope Day. Oh, wait we already got TI. This school is going downhill.

  • Unimpressed Soon to be Alum

    Well, at least this is better than Columbia; they have a washed up actor from Party of 5. Still, that is a really low standard.

    I cannot believe my parents are cutting short their bi-annual vacation to come hear a nobody. How on earth is she supposed to be inspiring to the entire audience? Great, she is a multi-ethnic woman in a largely white male dominated profession who has achieved some level of success. Such is commendable. I might even go see her if she was giving a Friday night talk at the Statler. But, is she a person with a story or with credentials that are noteworthy enough to merit speaking at one of the greatest educational institutions in the world? I don’t think so. Presidents, CEO’s, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors are traditional qualified individuals. If they wanted a newsperson, what about Walter Cronkike or Cornell’s own Keith Olberman. Heck, if they wanted a female newsperson, what about Barbara Walters?

    As the most noteworthy thing in her background is her success despite ethnic and gender barriers, the decision to bring her almost certainly has something to do with the ongoing diversity initiative. I have had it up to here with all of this talk about diversity. If they want to solve “diversity issues,” give us better financial aid rather than bring second rate news anchors and building diversity arches.

    I know a few people on the commencement speaker committee and I just cannot fathom that they would nominate her as a first, second, eight, or tenth choice. This must be the result of the stonewalling that was in that OP-ED piece a few weeks ago. Skorton loses a great deal of my respect we could not get a better speaker because of his obstinacy.

  • Dismayed Parent

    That Cornell is so desperate as to ask a newsreader to speak at its commencement is profoundly disappointing. Why not a professional circus clown instead of an amateur script reader?

    Harvard has Bill Gates speaking, and Cornell does this? As a parent who has just spent $230,000 in pretax income for my son’s education there, I am disgusted.

    I assume she will speak about diversity?

  • Student

    Honestly who cares? I don’t even remember who spoke at my highschool graduation. Stop bitching

    Re: Dismayed Parent – you spent money on an education. You can go to the learning annex if you want high class speakers and don’t care about quality of education.