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Katie Couric announced as UW-Madison commencement speaker

January 29, 2015 By Susannah Brooks

Award-winning television journalist Katie Couric has been selected to deliver the charge to the graduates at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s combined commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16.

“It is an honor to welcome Katie Couric to celebrate commencement with us this May,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “As the field of journalism has weathered dramatic changes, she has found innovative ways of engaging with citizens across the country. I know that her experiences will resonate with the Class of 2015 as they look beyond their time at UW–Madison.”

Photo: Katie Couric

Katie Couric

The spring 2015 commencement exercises will continue the new tradition, begun last year, of holding a single ceremony for undergraduates and most master’s degree candidates at Camp Randall Stadium, 1440 Monroe St.

Couric will speak at this combined ceremony, scheduled to begin at noon.

“I am honored to be invited to speak at such a respected, internationally recognized university,” says Couric. “I know Wisconsin graduates will be making major contributions in a myriad of fields after they leave this beautiful campus. I hope that I’ll be able to give them some guidance and advice that will serve them well on this first leg of a lifelong journey.”

In addition to her career as a journalist and television personality, Couric is a well-known cancer advocate, documentary film producer and New York Times best-selling author of “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives.”

In November 2013, Couric joined Yahoo as Global Anchor, where she will help develop Yahoo News’ coverage, report on live events, and anchor groundbreaking interviews with major newsmakers.

Couric is an executive producer and narrator of “Fed Up,” a documentary about the alarming spread of childhood obesity, which was released in spring 2014.

From 2012-2014, she was the host of “Katie,” a daily syndicated daytime talk show that premiered in September 2012. She has also served as a special correspondent for ABC News.

In September 2006, Couric joined CBS News and became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast after her 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” show.

“I know Wisconsin graduates will be making major contributions … after they leave this beautiful campus. I hope that I’ll be able to give them some guidance and advice that will serve them well on this first leg of a lifelong journey.”

Katie Couric

Couric is a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), co-founder of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Lilly Tartikoff, and co-founder of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Stand Up to Cancer has raised $280 million to fund scientific dream teams that tackle various cancers in collaborative and innovative ways.

Couric graduated with honors from the University of Virginia. 

Commencement speakers are selected and recommended by senior class officers. The university covers the speaker’s travel expenses but does not pay a fee or other honorarium.

“Due to the size and scope of continuing to celebrate in a single ceremony at Camp Randall, we were able to recruit a high-caliber speaker,” says Maria Giannopoulos, president of the Class of 2015. “We aimed to have a renowned speaker with an engaging personality and dedication to service.”

Couric stood out throughout the selection process, says Annie Paul, senior class vice president.

“Katie Couric’s impactful career as a trailblazer for women in television and journalism, as well as her extensive philanthropic efforts in areas such as cancer awareness, make her ideal to inspire the Class of 2015 this May,” says Paul.

More information about commencement weekend — including parking, school and college ceremonies, and answers to many frequently asked questions — is available online, by phone at 608-263-2400 or by email at