HIGH POINT, N.C., May 9, 2015 – Tom Brokaw sent High Point University graduates into the world on Saturday with reflections from a previous generation – the one he calls the Greatest Generation – and the call to be a new generation that sees past race, gender and superficial lines that divide.
“Be the generation that sees a friend or a stranger for who they are and not just for the color of their skin,” Brokaw said to the nearly 1,000 graduates at HPU. “We can never completely fulfill the promise of this treasured republic if we are blinded by color.”
Named one of the top Commencement speakers of 2015 by the Huffington Post, Brokaw addressed more than 10,000 parents, family members and friends who filled the Roberts Hall lawn. He shared wisdom from his career as a respected journalist and spoke of interviewing war veterans, his dark days of battling cancer, and even proclaimed that gender equality would be the most important achievement of the century.
“I believe that at the beginning of this century, we launched a great crusade that will end with the 21st century historians looking back and saying, of all the accomplishments and changes, nothing was as important as gender equality,” Brokaw said. “The 21st century will be remembered as the century of women.”
He noted that the Class of 2015 is part of a generation that is the best educated generation in global history. That makes them unique and also presents new responsibilities.
“We must all take a role in exporting the American ideals and culture and the American dream. I hope that each of you would dedicate a part of your life to the idea that American citizenship goes beyond our own selfish purposes. It is a privilege and an obligation and an opportunity not to be taken for granted. It is hard earned.”
Top highlights from Brokaw’s speech include:
Other unique HPU Commencement highlights:
Qubein says about Wanek: “Ron Wanek exemplifies the promise of the American dream. His distinguished career in the furniture industry has been earned through hard work and determination coupled with his belief in free enterprise and service to humankind. It is for these reasons that High Point University will bestow upon him an honorary doctorate of business administration.”
About Tom Brokaw:
Brokaw has spent his entire journalism career with NBC News beginning in 1966 in the Los Angeles bureau, where he covered Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the rise of the 1960s counter culture, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign.
From Los Angeles, Brokaw went to Washington as the White House correspondent during Watergate and as the principal backup for John Chancellor as anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” His next stop was “TODAY” in New York, followed by his appointment as anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.”
He took over “Meet the Press” for the 2008 campaign when his close friend and colleague Tim Russert died.
In addition to his daily news gathering responsibilities, Brokaw reported on more than 30 documentaries covering subjects ranging from AIDS, Los Angeles gangs, race, education, medicine, immigration and global warming.
He has an impressive list of firsts, including the first interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; the first network report on human rights abuses in Tibet, accompanied by an exclusive interview with the Dali Lama; and the only American network anchor to report from Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down.
In 1998 Brokaw published his first book, “The Greatest Generation,” one of the most popular non-fiction books of the 20th century. He followed that with five other books, including “BOOM! Voices Of The Sixties” and most recently his memoir, “A Lucky Life Interrupted.” He is also a popular essayist for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and a wide assortment of other periodicals and newspapers. He can be heard weekdays on his daily radio segment, “An American Story,” on Clear Channel radio stations nationwide addressing a wide range of topics – from newsworthy current events to historic figures to notable moments in history – which impact the lives of Americans today.