EMC Alumnus Strickland shares commencement advice

Strickland speech mug web

Ken Strickland

Graduates from the MTSU College of Mass Communication not only received their diplomas in December but a rousing speech from one of the college’s most successful alumni.

Ken Strickland, who now leads NBC’s editorial affairs and administration and works closely with NBC executives in his post atop the Washington bureau, told graduates in the afternoon ceremony that he, too, had been in their position.

“Twenty-five years ago, I was in this very building, sitting in those very chairs and thinking the very same thing: who is this guy?” said the 1989 Electronic Media Communication graduate.

“Let’s do something I couldn’t do when I graduated. Everybody pick up your phones and let’s take a selfie,” he said as the audience laughed and applauded. “You guys better smile!”

He then encouraged the new graduates to learn to get along with people, be open to change and be grateful. “A lot of struggle went into getting you here today,” he said. “Try to always remember how lucky and blessed you are. Be grateful not only for the extraordinary things in your life but for the ordinary things, too.”

Strickland was appointed NBC News vice president and Washington bureau chief in October 2012. Strickland joined NBC in April 1995 as an associate producer for “Dateline NBC.” Quickly rising through the ranks, he was named White House producer in June 1997, a position he held for six years and spanned the last three years of the Clinton administration and the first three years of the Bush administration. Strickland previously worked for WKRN-TV in Nashville, WVTM-TV in Birmingham and CNN in Atlanta. He received several distinguished honors throughout this time, including a Peabody Award, two regional Emmys and an award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

An estimated 1,803 MTSU students received their degrees in two fall 2014 commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center.

fall 2014 grads stretch web

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