Dead Blogging Katie Couric’s BU Commencement Address

So after Boston University had conferred honorary doctorates on Frank (Always Color Inside the Lines) Stella, Nina (Proud BU Dropout) Totenberg, and Jacques (The Most Cookin’ Professor) Pépin, it was Katie, BU the Door.

Introduced as someone who had scaled the “Olympian heights of journalism” (your WTF goes here), former Coulda Been Spectacular anchor Katie Couric received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and delivered the keynote address at BU’s 138th Commencement exercises.

The graduating class of 2011 loved it.

Couric is a rock star more than a journalist to young people who rarely watch her on the CBS Evening News. If they did, 1) Couric would probably still be there; and 2) there’d be a lot fewer Centrum Silver ads during the newscast.

Regardless . . .

Couric provided the requisite BU inside jokes (“I’m happy to be speaking at BU instead of my safety school BC”) – although not as many, the hardworking staff thinks, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered last year.

She also provided the soundbite du jour regarding her tenure at the CBS anchor desk: “The critics said I lacked gravitas, which I’ve decided is Latin for testicles.”


Mostly, though, Couric quoted from her new book The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives, a collection of essays from people slightly less famous than Couric.

Representative sample: “Linda Ellerbee said, ‘Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue.”

As today’s Boston Herald describes it:

Couric also used the speech to plug her book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” sampling from its contents to warn students that setbacks are inevitable and “it’s how you handle that adversity that defines who you are.” Then she told students to look under their chairs.

“I’m joking! If you want the book you have to buy it,” Couric said. “Who do you think I am, Oprah?”

Exactly. Or not exactly. You be the judge.

(Full disclosure: I’m a mass communication professor at Boston University so I have a vested interest in how things work out for BU grads.)

UPDATE: Here’s the video.

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3 Responses to Dead Blogging Katie Couric’s BU Commencement Address

  1. Katie says:

    More than a bit insulting to imply that us 2011 grads don’t watch the news. Four years of hard work and specialization in fields that many of us have taken incredibly seriously (an IR major myself) deserves more than a “cute” generalization like that. Disappointing to hear a professor talk this way about us only hours after the send off/ceremony.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      Thanks for writing, Katie. Just to clarify: I didn’t say you don’t follow the news, and I never said you’re not serious about what you do. I just said young people generally don’t watch networks newscasts like the CBS Evening News. If I’m wrong about that, I apologize.

  2. CJ says:

    Katie Couric was all about being cute and perky. By the time CBS wanted to hang their news hopes on her celebrity, the die had been cast and she was type cast as such. They, and she, should never have expected her to be taken seriously as the face of CBS news on the evening news program. Of course, looking at what passes for serious, professional news on any of our local news programs it’s easy to see where that idea came from.

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