Commencement 2005: Brian Williams

Presented by David O. Boone ’62, P’87, Trustee, for Doctor of Humane Letters

On Dec. 2, 2004, Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor of the distinguished broadcast “NBC Nightly News,” the most-watched news program on television. Since joining NBC 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. Even after accepting the top news job, Williams anchored from Baghdad to report on landmark Iraqi elections and became the first network news anchor to report from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, about the massive earthquake and tsunami. Williams attended George Washington University and the Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C., but left 18 credits short of a bachelor’s degree in order to accept a paid internship at the White House during the Carter administration. He landed his first broadcast news job in Pittsburg, Kan., at $174 a week. He honed his reporting skills and soon moved up to major television markets. Williams joined NBC from the CBS-owned television station in New York City, starting as a national correspondent. At the end of his first year, he was named anchor of the Saturday edition of “NBC Nightly News” as well as former anchor Tom Brokaw’s primary substitute for the weekday broadcast. In 1994, he was named the network’s chief White House correspondent. In 1996, MSNBC, the NBC News cable network, was launched, with “The News with Brian Williams” as its flagship show. For his broadcast reporting, Williams received Emmy awards in 1987, 1993 and 2001. Williams is married to Jane Stoddard Williams and has two children. Williams was named “Father of the Year” in 1996 by the National Father’s Day Committee. Williams is from a Bates family: His father, Gordon L. Williams, is a graduate of the Class of 1938 and will be in attendance at Commencement; his mother is the late Dorothy “Dode” Pampel Williams of the Class of 1940, and his late brother, David A. Williams, was a graduate with the Class of 1965.

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