Tulane University Logo Tulane University Commencement 2007


2007 Commencement Keynote Speaker


NBC Nightly News anchor

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, the nation’s most-watched news anchor, will deliver the keynote address to graduates at Tulane University’s 2007 commencement on May 19 at 9 a.m. in the New Orleans Arena.

Williams 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 remained in New Orleans to report on the aftermath and destruction of Hurricane Katrina and continues to travel to the region to cover the rebuilding effort.

In recognition of his coverage, Tulane University President Scott Cowen presented the Tulane President’s Medal to Williams last May.

“Brian Williams has been a true friend and advocate for Tulane University and the city of New Orleans. 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,” Tulane University President Scott Cowen said.

Williams’ 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 more.

Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band and local jazz great Wanda Rouzan will entertain the crowd, with Rouzan serenading departing graduates with the classic, “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.”

On May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., graduates and their families will also be treated to Wave Goodbye, an on-campus celebration featuring New Orleans food and the music of Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys.

Williams became the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” on December 2, 2004. His nightly broadcast represents the largest single daily source of news in America. In June, the five-time Emmy winner received television’s highest honor, the George Foster Peabody Award, for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

In June 2006, “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” received an unprecedented four Edward R. Murrow awards, including their highest honor, “Best Newscast,” for the program’s Hurricane Katrina coverage. And in September 2006, “Nightly News” won an Emmy for breaking news for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Since joining NBC News in 1993, Williams has become one of the nation’s foremost television journalists, covering virtually every major breaking news event and traveling extensively around the world. He is a veteran of political campaigns and elections and has traveled to dozens of U.S. cities and foreign countries in the course of covering the news over more than two decades.

For seven years beginning in 1996, Williams was anchor and managing editor of “The News with Brian Williams,” a live, hour-long nightly newscast on MSNBC and then on CNBC. Williams was the anchor and managing editor of the Saturday edition of “NBC Nightly News” for six years before becoming anchor of the weekday edition.

Past speakers at Tulane ceremonies include:

President George H. W. Bush (2006 remarks) Art Buchwald
President William J. Clinton (2006 remarks) Vernon Jordan

Michael Lewis (2005 remarks)

Ralph Nader

John Breaux

Andrew Young

David Halberstam (2003 remarks)

Tom Brokaw

William Safire

Norman Cousins

Marian Wright Edelman (2001 remarks)

Dr. Michael DeBakey

Walter Isaacson (2000 remarks)

Thomas Foley

Cokie Roberts

Lewis Powell

Janet Reno

Hon. Corinne "Lindy" Boggs