March 2, 2007

Good Morning:

I am pleased to announce that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, the nation's most-watched news anchor and a friend of Tulane University, will deliver the keynote address at Commencement 2007, May 19 at 9 a.m. in the New Orleans Arena.

Brian was the first and only network evening news anchor to report from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit and was the only network news anchor to report from the Superdome during the storm. He also remained in New Orleans to report on the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Katrina and continues to travel to our region to cover the rebuilding effort.

In recognition of his coverage, I was proud to present Brian with the Tulane President's Medal at "Rebirth: People, Places and Culture in New Orleans," a conference which was held on the uptown campus last May.

Brian's address will be the highlight of an academic celebration that will include approximately 2,000 graduates, a procession of hundreds of faculty members in full regalia, live jazz music, herald trumpets, second-liners, a balloon drop, a confetti shower and possibly a few other surprises. Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band and local jazz great Wanda Rouzan will also perform.

Brian has won five Emmy Awards and received television's highest honor, the George Foster Peabody Award. In June 2006, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" received an unprecedented four Edward R. Murrow awards, including their highest honor, "Best Newscast," for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Brian's nightly broadcast represents the largest single daily source of news in America.

But, I think the best rationale for having Brian as our commencement speaker is simply that he is a true friend and advocate for Tulane University and the city of New Orleans. His balanced, fact-based and compassionate coverage of our story has been recognized by both his peers and millions of viewers. I can think of no better person to provide insight and direction to our graduates as they embark on their next important step in life.

For a full list of all Commencement 2007 activities please visit:

Have a good weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638