Tom Brokaw, best known as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, will return to Oxford to deliver the main address at the University of Mississippi’s 163rd Commencement.
Brokaw will speak to graduating students and their families at 9 a.m. on May 14 in the Grove.
An accomplished journalist, Brokaw hosted NBC News programs such as “Today,” “Nightly News” and “Meet The Press.”
He was born in Webster, South Dakota and earned a degree in political science from the University of South Dakota in 1964. He went on to work for a few small news stations before joining NBC News.
Brokaw first joined NBC News in 1966, reporting from California and anchoring the 11 p.m. news for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. By 1973, Brokaw had worked his way up to becoming NBC’s White House correspondent covering the Watergate scandal. In 1982, Brokaw became co-anchor of the NBC Nightly News and by 1983, he was selected sole anchor.
During his time with NBC, Brokaw covered the Challenger disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Curtis Wilkie, Cook Chair of Journalism and the first fellow of the UM Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, has been a friend of Brokaw’s for 40 years. A few years ago, Brokaw spent a week teaching one of Wilkie’s classes in the Honors College and conducted office hours to allow students to come meet with him.
The journalist first visited Ole Miss in 2000 and has returned several times since.
“He was here last fall on an NBC assignment and he and his two sons-in-law were at Vaught-Hemingway two years ago, watching with delight as Ole Miss beat Alabama,” Wilkie said. “He’s also been to several of our baseball games and once threw the first pitch during an SEC series.”
Brokaw was also on campus to discuss presidential politics in a campus program held in Fulton Chapel the night before the first presidential debate between then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain at the Ford Center.
Brokaw has also written several books. His most well known book is “The Greatest Generation,” which tells the stories of the generation that grew up in the United States during the Great Depression and went on to fight in World War II.
Since retiring from “Nightly News” in 2004, Brokaw has remained a special correspondent for NBC News. He has also hosted a baseball documentary series for Fox Sports Net called “The Boys in the Hall” and served as moderator for the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at Belmont University.
“He has a lot of history here and is a good friend of Ole Miss,” Wilkie said.