Journalist announced as 225 Annual Commencement Speaker

Megan Brown, News Editor

As the 2018-19 academic year comes to a close, the speaker for the 225 annual commencement at graduation has been announced. The new President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News Susan Zirinsky, has been given this opportunity. Over 500 graduating students will receive their degrees during the ceremony that will take place on Sunday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. Roger Hull Plaza.

When President David R. Harris was asked about what he thinks of Zirinsky being the new speaker he stated, “At a time when the role of the press is both changing and being questioned, we are honored to welcome a highly respected journalist like Susan Zirinsky to our campus.”

Zirinsky joined CBS News in 1972 and has now held multiple positions during her tenure. She was also the first woman to lead the venerable news organization.

“She has been witness to many historic stories during more than four decades in the news business, and we look forward to her sharing her insights with the graduating class and their families,” President Harris added.

It all began when Zirinsky got a job at American University where she was a part-time desk assistant in the CBS News Washington bureau. While she was there, she got to observe and learn from Walter Cronkite, one of the most notable journalistic influencers at the time.

In January of this year, Zirinsky was named President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News, replacing David Rhodes. She will be in charge of CBS News broadcasts across all platforms in television, CBS News Radio, and CBSN. Zirinsky will become the first female President and Senior Executive Producer of CBS News.

Zirinsky has won many awards for her production and other work on various films. In 2003, she won a Primetime Emmy Award as producer of the documentary 9/11, which aired on CBS in 2002.

Paige Webster ’19 shared her excitement about Zirinsky being the speaker at graduation. “It’s really nice to have someone that is not only a woman, but also someone that is powerful, committed to her work, successful and driven speak at our Commencement Ceremony this year.”

Many students, faculty, friends and parents are excited to hear Zirinsky speak at graduation. This will be the first woman Commencement speaker since 2014.

Zirinsky is following as Commencement Speaker in the footsteps of renowned individuals such as David Wenig ‘88, Chief Executive Officer and President of eBay, John Lewis, U.S. Representative and last year’s speaker, former Union College President Stephen Charles Ainlay.