March 21, 2017

Commencement Speaker 2017

We are excited to announce that this year’s 2017 commencement speaker will be MICHELE NORRIS, journalist and host of NPR’s longest-running national program, All Things Considered, until 2012. 

The 2009 Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, Norris has received many of journalism’s highest honors such as a Peabody Award, duPont Award, and an Overseas Press Club Award. Before joining NPR, she served as a correspondent for ABC News, where she reported extensively on education, inner city issues, the national drug problem, and poverty. While at ABC, she earned an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to the network’s coverage of 9/11.

Michele Norris is one of the most trusted voices in American Journalism. For more than a decade, she served as co-host of NPR’s newsmagazine All Things Considered, public radio’s longest-running national program. Norris also has extensive experience in television and print journalism. Prior to her tenure at NPR, she served as an ABC News Correspondent based in Washington DC where she covered The White House and was part of a team of reporters tasked with doing in-depth reports on America’s most challenging issues including, education, poverty, the national drug problem and aftermath of 9/11. As a print reporter, Norris served as a staff writer for The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Time and National Geographic magazines.

Michele Norris is also an acclaimed author. Her first book, The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir, focuses on how America talks about race in the wake of the Obama presidency, and how her own complex legacy has shaped her dedication to informing others through sound and voice. 

More recently her work around the issues of race and identity has served as an effective and provocative cultural bridge. In 2011, Norris created The Race Card Project, a narrative exercise that invites people to share their experiences and perspectives around race and identity. The project has archived tens of thousands of stories from all 50 states and more than 60 countries and is now used in hundreds of schools, colleges and communities as a forum for sparking productive dialogue.

Norris’s work on The Race Card Project was honored with The Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious honors in broadcast journalism. She has received many other honors in journalism for her insight into American culture and social issues including, the Dupont Award, The Emmy, The Livingston Award, The National Dialogue Award and she was named Journalist of The Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Norris received a Children’s Choice award for her advocacy of children’s literature while at NPR through her work on The Backseat Book Club. 

Captivating and astute on air, in person, and especially on stage, Michele Norris has a voice that is undeniably recognizable….and a voice that embodies both authority and calm.. Compelling….thoughtful…bold….and insightful….Norris’s personality is hard to match. 

Many thanks to Associate Dean of Student Academic Affairs, John Krussel, for chairing the commencement speaker subcommittee! We look forward to hearing Michele’s speech at this year’s commencement on Saturday, May 6th, 2 p.m., at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.